Part B (Original Medicare)
What is it?
Along with Medicare Part A, Medicare Part B is known as Original Medicare. It is medical Insurance that helps cover services and supplies not covered by Part A. You pay a monthly premium for Part B coverage.
What are the details?
The first time you can enroll in Medicare Part B is during the Initial Enrollment Period. It is a 7 month window that starts three months before your 65th birthday month and ends three months after your birthday month. If you miss it, you can still sign up during a General Enrollment Period from January 1st through March 31st, but you may have to pay a late enrollment penalty.
If you keep working after you turn 65 and get insurance through your employer, you can hold off enrolling in Part B until you retire. An eight month Special Enrollment Period will start on the date that your employment or group coverage ends, whichever comes first. Part B coverage starts the first day of the month of your 65th birthday.
What else should I know?
- Are you already getting Social Security or Railroad Retiree benefits? If you are, you will be automatically signed up for Part B.
- You can wait to enroll in Part B if you are covered through your (or your spouse's) current employer. But once employment ends, you have 8 months to sign up for Part B without a penalty.
- If you decide NOT to enroll in Part B coverage, follow the directions in your Medicare package. If you didn't get the package, call the Social Security Administration and ask for one.