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When does Medicare Start

Updated: Mar 19

This Medicare Monday article will be going over When Medicare starts for everyone. There are different start dates depending on your circumstances. For most people Medicare starts at age 65, however there are special instances where Medicare can start before the age of 65 and when Medicare can start after 65.

Brief history of Medicare

Medicare was signed into law July 30th, 1965, by President Lyndon B Johnson. This bill created what is now known as ‘original Medicare,’ which covers hospitalization (Medicare Part A) and outpatient services (Medicare Part B). When the bill was first passed Medicare covered only those that were 65 years old. Funny enough the first two people to enroll in original Medicare was Harry and Bess Truman, Harry Truman had worked on a bill such as this passed during his presidency. Years later Medicare expanded coverage to those with disabilities, end-stage renal disease, and those 65 years or older.

In 2003, the ‘Medicare Prescription Drug Improvement and Modernization Act of 2003 (MMA)’ was passed and introduced Medicare Part C, otherwise known as Medicare Advantage. In 2006 the ‘MMA’ was expanded to include stand alone Prescription Drug Plans.

Medicare continues to evolve and coverages continue to change with Medicare Advantage, Prescription Drug Plans, and Medicare Supplement options available it is not the easiest program to navigate alone anymore, which is why local Medicare brokerages and local Medicare agents such as AIS Medicare & More exist.

Initial Medicare Enrollment Period

When it is the year, you will turn 65 you will want to keep in mind some important time frames. You will have a 7-month period around your 65th birthday that is known as your Initial Enrollment Period. 3-months before your 65th birthday you can start your Medicare enrollment journey. During this 3-month period you can submit your application (if needed) to Social Security to get your Medicare applied for. If, you do not get a chance to work on everything before your 65th birthday, you will still have 4 months to get everything applied for. However, you start to have some delays in the effective date of Medicare.

If you apply for Medicare the month you turn 65, Medicare will become effective the next month. If you apply for Medicare the month after you turn 65, Medicare will become effective 2 months later. Finally, if you apply for Medicare 2 or 3 months after you turn 65, Medicare will become effective 3 months later.

How to sign up for Medicare

If you are not drawing from social security, then your Medicare enrollment is not automatic, and you must apply for coverage. The simplest way to do this is by going through your Social Security online account and apply for Medicare. You can choose to apply for Medicare Part A only or both Medicare Part A and B, depending on your situation.

However, if you are applying for Medicare after your 65th birthday, due to working then you will need to submit an employer verification form along with your Medicare Part B application. This Employer Verification form is filled out by you and your employer (typically HR) to tell Social Security that you had creditable coverage in place so that you do not get a late enrollment penalty.

Medicare Initial Election Period chart

We can help you with the Medicare enrollment process to avoid any penalties or delays.

Automatic enrollment for Medicare

For those that are already drawing Social Security when you turn 65, your Medicare will automatically become effective the month your birthday and you will receive your Medicare card about 3 months before your 65th birthday. If you would like to only have Medicare Part A become effective or not have any part of Medicare become effective you will have to send in a request to Social Security and they will disenroll you form the Medicare Part(s) you choose. Keep in mind that without creditable coverage you will start to accrue a penalty for not having Medicare active when first eligible (in this instance turning 65).

Medicare before Social Security

You can get full Medicare benefits before starting to withdraw Social Security benefits. With the ‘full retirement’ age now being 66 and 6 months for those born in 1957, most will be getting Medicare prior to drawing Social Security. There are no penalties or delays in coverage for getting Medicare prior to drawing your Social Security, you will also not get a lower Social Security for getting Medicare and not receiving Social Security benefits.

Can I start Medicare mid-month?

Medicare will always start on the first of the month. Medicare does not make anything effective in the middle of the month. So, if your application gets submitted in the middle of the month it will not become effective in the middle of the month. It will always go to the first of the following month unless it is being backdated to the beginning of a prior month.

This rule goes for all Medicare plans as well, you will not see any Medicare Advantage, Prescription Drug Plan, or Medicare Supplement start mid-month either. Everything is the first day of the month for coverages.

What age does Medicare start?

Medicare generally will start when you turn 65. For most, you will get Medicare when you turn 65 though you can get Medicare earlier or later depending on your situation. To get Medicare prior to turning 65 you will either need to be on Social Security Disability or have End-Stage Renal Disease (ESRD) and getting kidney dialysis. To get Medicare after turning 65 you will need to have creditable coverage in place, this will typically be a group employer plan. However, many people will decide to enroll into Medicare instead of keeping their group plan.

When does Medicare start after Disability?

Medicare will start for those receiving Social Security Disability for 24 consecutive months. On the 25-month of Social Security Disability you will automatically be enrolled into Medicare and received your Medicare card in the mail. Once, you have Medicare you are eligible for all the plan options like someone getting Medicare from turning 65.

As always if you have any more questions regarding your Medicare enrollment, you are more than welcome to reach out to our office and talk with one of your local Medicare Brokers. We have several offices throughout Colorado along with several independent agents in many States.

You can call us directly at 719-404-3202

Or navigate to our contact page and we can reach out to you.


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