Medicare and Social Security are two different government programs. Although they can be used together and often are, they don’t have to be. Medicare offers health care coverage and Social Security offers supplemental income to disabled and elderly Americans. They do have an important commonality: Social Security handles enrollment for Medicare Part A (hospital insurance) and Part B (medical insurance).
Once an individual qualifies, the Social Security Administration works with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services to inform those recently qualified about their Medicare enrollment options and help process their applications and collect premiums.
Medicare eligibility normally starts at age 65. If you’re receiving Social Security retirement benefits, the Social Security office will send out a welcome packet. You should receive it in the mail about three months before the month you turn 65.
Most people are automatically enrolled in Parts A and B. We reserve the right to opt-out of part B but this could end up costing us regardless because of the penalties — in the form of permanently higher premiums if you sign up for it later.
If you have not yet filed for Social Security benefits, you will need to apply for Medicare yourself. You can do so any time during your Initial Enrollment Period, which lasts seven months (so, for that July 15 birthday, the sign-up window runs from April 1 through Oct. 31). If you do not enroll during that period, you could face those late fees if you sign up later. All information you need can be found in links on the Social Security website.
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If you’re drawing Social Security benefits, your Medicare Part B premiums are deducted from your monthly payments. For individuals that do not participate in the SS program, they will receive monthly bills from CMS.
Almost all Medicare beneficiaries avoid getting to bypass paying premiums for Part A because they worked and paid taxes long enough to qualify for the program. The Part B premium will start at $170.10 a month in 2022 and may rise with the beneficiary’s income, spouse’s income, or other factors.
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