Once signed up, you can stick with Original Medicare with its one-size-fits-all approach. Alternatively, one can get a more customized approach to healthcare through a Medicare Advantage plan, often with benefits that can exceed Parts A and B combined.
To apply online, go to the Social Security website. Once at the Social Security Web page, a person will see ‘Sign In/Sign Up”, and after clicking it, you will choose mySocial Security account to continue.
In order to apply for Medicare online, you will first need:
Your Social Security number
A valid home address
A valid email address
From the account creation, you’ll be walked through an email verification process.
After you create your mySocial Security account, you can apply online for Medicare Part A and Part B. This online account will be helpful when updating your address, or replacing a lost Medicare card.
Are Medicare and Social Security the same?
While the Social Security Administration is not part of Medicare, their functions intertwine.
Social Security handles eligibility, signup, and identification cards for Medicare.
Applying for Medicare online can be an easy task. However, knowing when to do so can make all the difference. It is also important to know that neither benefits from Social Security nor Medicare have any overlap with any benefits one may receive from the Railroad Retirement Board.
Advantages of the Initial Signup Period
The initial signup period is the ideal time to study and select the best combination of Medicare programs. The Initial Enrollment Period begins three months before you turn 65, and lasts the entire month of your 65th birthday as well as the three months after you’ve turned 65.
Enrolling when first eligible avoids late fees and restrictions that can come from applying at later times. The initial signup is best for when you want to enroll in Medigap insurance, enroll in Part D Prescription Drug coverage, or enroll in Part C Medicare Advantage.
When applying online, doing so at the first opportunity will help you to get the combination of benefits and coverage that suits your needs.
Original Medicare (Medicare A and B), with a Medigap policy, as well as Prescription drug insurance (Medicare D).
Medicare Advantage (Medicare C), especially when offered with built-in prescription coverage, known as MAPD (Medicare Advantage Prescription Drug) plans.
Get Access to Additional Benefits When You Apply for Medicare
During your seven-month initial enrollment period, if you apply for Medicare online using mySocialSecurity or any other sign-up method:
No medical underwriting applies when purchasing Medigap, which means insurers must accept you, even with pre-existing medical conditions.
Avoids a late enrollment penalty for Medicare Part A or B, which can be long-lasting and costly.
Avoids a late enrollment penalty for Medicare Part D prescription drug insurance.
Although you can easily sign up for Part A, B, C, or D Medicare online, deciding which benefits to pursue for your situation is not always so easy.
Many choose to keep Original Medicare, while many others get their healthcare benefits through a Medicare Advantage plan.
By comparison, Medicare Advantage must meet the coverage requirements of Original Medicare, but plans typically compete by going above and beyond Medicare. Often, they include built-in Part D prescription drug coverage.
As a whole, Medicare Advantage (Part C) is private insurance. Each plan comes through private Medicare-approved Part C carriers.
Essentially, this is a choice between Original Medicare, a government run program, and Medicare Advantage, a group of private plans.
If selecting Original Medicare, then one should also consider Medigap insurance in addition to prescription benefits from a separate Medicare Part D policy.
Medigap Supplemental Coverage
Medigap helps to pay the out-of-pocket costs that can come with using Original Medicare.
Essentially, Medigap is insurance that fills the gaps in payment for hospital and medical services. Though normally out-of-pocket expenses, Medigap can cover deductibles, co-pays and co-insurance left by Original Medicare.
Medigap is private insurance, meaning its premiums go directly to the insurer, but members must still pay their Medicare Part A and B premiums.
In other words, to qualify for Medigap, you have to apply for Medicare Parts A and B.
Applicants outside of their initial enrollment period may be subject to medical underwriting by the sellers. Underwriting can leave carriers able to charge more or to deny coverage completely.
During the initial enrollment period, Medigap insurers cannot discriminate against applicants for medical reasons and must accept applicants at the same price.
Once you’ve applied for Medicare Parts a and B, you gain access to an array of Medicare programs. Whether you apply online, by mail, over the phone, or in person, doing so when first eligible will mean the lowest prices and starting coverage without delay or penalties.