If you start receiving Social Security before you’re 65, you’ll get your Medicare enrollment card in the mail. And if you apply to begin Social Security benefits when you turn 65, you can apply for Medicare at the same time. But if you’re still working or want to post- pone collecting Social Security because you don't yet qualify for your full retirement benefit, you’ve got to apply for Medicare on your own. If you apply after your initially eligible, you risk delays in coverage. More seriously, if you apply late for Part B or Part D coverage, you risk a permanent surcharge on your premium for each year that you were eligible but didn’t enroll You can apply up to three months before your 65th birthday. If you do, your coverage begins the first day of the month you turn 65.
If you enroll in the month you turn 65, coverage begins on the first of the following month. If you enroll within the next three months, there is a waiting period for coverage. Medicare doesn’t cover any of your Part B bills incurred before you’re enrolled. If you enroll within the next three months, there is a waiting period for coverage. Medicare doesn’t cover any of your Part B bills incurred before
The rules are different, though, if you’re still working at age 65 and have employer- provided insurance. Then you can delay applying for Parts B and D coverage until you need it, and your premium won’t be increased. You might find, however, that your employer encourages you to switch when you first become eligible. In fact, the company might even pick up the cost of the Part B premium, because it may cost less than covering you through the group policy.
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