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Can I sign up for Medicare and not Social Security?

Just the essentials...

  • You can sign up for Medicare and not Social Security benefits if you are three full months from your 65th birthday or older

  • People who aren’t ready to stop working can sign up for Medicare and delay applying for Social Security

  • If you apply for Medicare without drawing Social Security, you will have to keep up with your Medicare Part B premiums using another payment method

Can I sign up for Medicare and not Social Security? - Social Security Application Form

The Social Security Administration indicates that you can sign up for Medicare and not Social Security if you are three months from your 65th birthday or older.

Many people in the U.S. choose this option because they are not ready to fully stop working.

Waiting until later to apply for Social Security benefits can increase the amount of monthly Social Security income you will receive once you claim it.

Additionally, Medicare Part B requires you to pay a monthly premium.

Individuals who are semi-retired or fully retired and receive some or all of their Social Security benefits will pay their Medicare Part B monthly premium through a monthly deduction from their Social Security benefits.

Keep in mind that if you do apply for Medicare and not Social Security, you must pay your Part B premium using a method you set up yourself, like withdrawal from a bank account.

According to Medicare.gov, the standard Part B premium amount in 2021 is $148.50.

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Here are some important highlights regarding premiums and deductibles if you plan on signing up for Medicare and not Social Security:

  • In 2021, your Part B premium may be different if you are enrolling for the first time.
  • In 2021, your deductible for Part B is $203 per year. Once the deductible is met, you are responsible for 20 percent of Medicare-approved costs for outpatient therapy, doctor services and medical equipment.
  • As of a tax return from 2 years ago (2019), income levels greater than $88,000 for individuals and $176,000 for couples filing joint tax returns will pay more than the standard $148.50 Part B premium.

Medicare Parts A and B

Can I sign up for Medicare and not Social Security? - Medicare Part A

Original Medicare Part A covers hospital care, including emergency services, skilled nursing facility care, in-home care, home health services, and hospice.

Part A does not typically require a monthly premium, depending on your work and tax history.

If you are concerned what health services Medicare Part A covers, Medicare.gov recommends that you ask your doctor why you need specific health services during your hospital stay and if Medicare covers the cost of those services.

Original Medicare Part B covers the cost of doctor’s services that includes preventive care, outpatient services, lab tests, x-rays, and mental health care.

You must pay a monthly premium for Part B, and it only covers 80 percent of your health-related costs.

However, Medicare Parts A and B do not cover all medical related expenses. Here are some of the services Medicare does not cover:

  • Custodial care (help bathing, dressing, or doing laundry)
  • Most dental care
  • Eye exams and prescription glasses
  • Cosmetic surgery
  • Dentures
  • Hearing exams and hearing aids

Some Basics of Medicare Supplemental Insurance Plans

Can I sign up for Medicare and not Social Security? - Supplemental Insurance

Supplemental plans fill the gap in medical expenses that Original Medicare does not fully cover.

For example, if you need care for a medical condition, Medicare Part B only covers 80 percent of those costs, and you are on the hook for the remaining 20 percent.

Using a supplemental plan, you can significantly reduce the out-of-pocket costs that can add up from medical care, including copayments, deductibles and coinsurance.

Private insurance companies offer supplemental plans, also known as Medigap.

If you cannot afford the out-of-pocket expenses you incur from Part B, then a supplemental policy may help you curb those costs.

You must pay a monthly premium for a supplemental plan, so it is imperative that you shop by comparison when you are searching for one.

Just like traditional health care, you should never decide on the first insurance company that you see.

This is especially true here, because Medigap plans are standardized into types, and plans of the same type offer the exact same coverage, no matter the private carrier.

In other words, the only difference between Medicare supplements plans of the same type is the monthly premium charged by the carrier.

There are several Medicare-approved private insurance companies that offer quality supplemental plans.

The cost of your monthly premium and the portion of your medical expenses a supplemental plan will cover are at stake, so thoroughly comparison shop private insurance companies offering supplemental plans.

Medicare and Social Security

Cost of Medicare and Social Security

If you apply for Medicare only and wish to delay your Social Security benefits, there is no penalty in terms of how much coverage you will receive from Medicare.

If you receive Medicare and continue to work until full retirement age, between age 66 and 67 depending on the year you were born, it will increase the lifetime benefits that the SSA can pay you each month.

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References:

  1. https://www.ssa.gov/planners/retire/justmedicare.html, “Applying for Medicare Only,” Nov 1, 2016.
  2. https://www.medicare.gov/your-medicare-costs/part-b-costs/part-b-costs.html, “Part B costs,” Nov 1, 2016.
  3. https://www.medicare.gov/Pubs/pdf/11579-medicare-costs.pdf, “2021 Medicare Costs,” Dec 1 2020.
  4. https://www.medicare.gov/what-medicare-covers/part-a/what-part-a-covers.html, “What Part A covers,” Nov 1, 2016.
  5. https://www.medicare.gov/what-medicare-covers/not-covered/item-and-services-not-covered-by-part-a-and-b.html, “What Part A & Part B doesn’t cover,” Nov 1, 2016.
  6. https://www.medicare.gov/supplement-other-insurance/medigap/whats-medigap.html, “What’s Medicare Supplement Insurance (Medigap)?,” Nov 1, 2016.
  7. https://www.ssa.gov/policy/docs/ssb/v74n4/v74n4p21.html “Incentivizing Delayed Claiming of Social Security Retirement Benefits Before Reaching the Full Retirement Age,” June 18, 2015.
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