April 10, 2021

When I turn 65 Am I Automatically Enrolled in Medicare?

This is a very common question and thank you for asking it.

So the short answer for most people is no.

If you aren’t currently receiving Social Security or Railroad Retirement Board benefits when you turn 65, you will have to sign up for Medicare yourself. Medicare may or may not notify you about your eligibility, so be sure to get your Initial Enrollment Period (IEP) dates and put them in your calendar. Your Initial Enrollment Period is the 3 months prior to your birth month, your birth month and the 3 months after your birth month for a total of 7 months that make up your IEP.

It’s best to sign up for Medicare toward the start of your IEP. That way your coverage will begin as soon as you’re eligible. If you sign up during your 65th birthday month or later, your coverage start date could be delayed. With private insurance companies you will have the best choices available to you if you are signing during your IEP.

If you currently receive Social Security or Railroad Retirement Board benefits however, you may be automatically enrolled. You’ll receive your Medicare card in the mail before your 65th birthday. You’ll still have an IEP, during which you may make Medicare coverage decisions.

Keep in mind that if you have or qualify for disability the above isn’t the same, that is a completely different process mainly because you may qualify well before you are 65 years of age.

Medicare part A and B covers everything doesn’t it?

I will say that Medicare parts A and B cover many things but certainly not everything. One of the biggest things that really surprises people is that prescription drugs aren’t covered. If you want drug coverage through through Medicare you will need to purchase Medicare part D, but it is not provided by Part A or Part B.

Here is a list of some other services that are not usually covered by Original Medicare:

Dental exams, most dental care or dentures are not covered. Routine eye exams, eyeglasses or contacts. Hearing aids or related exams or services. Most care while traveling outside the United States. Help with bathing, dressing, eating, etc. (custodial care). Comfort items such as a hospital phone, TV or private room. Long-term care. Cosmetic surgery. Most chiropractic services. Acupuncture or other alternative treatments. Routine foot care.

You may have to pay for these services yourself unless you have other insurance that covers them. Some Medicare Advantage plans (also known as part C) may help with certain services not covered by Original Medicare. There are many choices available for part C plans with private insurance companies and many of them have a $0 premium.

Thank you guys again for continuing to send in those great questions. If these questions are questions you’ve wondered about then what else are you wondering about that has not been asked? Just email me or call, I will never use your name but I will get you an answer and who knows your question may appear next week in this column.
Nick Swearngin
Licensed Sales Representative