Last updated on: November 08, 2022
Retirement is a time when many of the hard-earned benefits of a lifetime of hard work can become available so retirees can more fully enjoy their golden years. As that fateful day approaches you may be wondering exactly how to sign up for Medicare in Washington.
Thankfully, signing up for Medicare happens almost always automatically if you enroll for retirement or disability benefits. Still, knowing the right time and the right steps ahead of time will help keep you fully covered and avoid any penalties, epecially in Washington.
If you’re approaching sixty-five years old and wondering just when and how to sign up for Medicare benefits, this should help you decide the best way to approach that. Here’s what you need to know:
When to Sign Up for Medicare in Washington
Most people should sign up for Medicare when they’re first eligible, which is usually upon turning sixty-five years old.
Part A is the only part required to enroll in, but depending on your individual needs in terms of increased coverage, the additional benefits from coverage of the other parts might outweigh the costs.
In addition to part A and part B, which refers to hospital and medical insurance respectively, there are options for the enhanced part C (Medicare Advantage) or part D (medicare drug coverage).
Signing up for medicare later carries potential risks, such as a gap in coverage or paying a penalty. In some situations, for example, if you are working past the age of sixty-five and have health insurance through your employer in Washington, it may make sense to sign up later.
Most of the time, the initial enrollment period begins three months before the month of your sixty-fifth birthday and three months after.
Medicare part A benefits typically start the month of your sixty-fifth birthday if you enroll before then, or within a month of enrollment after that. During that same initial enrollment period, you can add any of the other parts you might be interested in.
However, if you try to switch outside of this initial period, there may be a gap in coverage where costs wouldn’t be covered by the plan.
How Medicare Sign Up Works in Washington
Oftentimes, Medicare sign-up is as simple as contacting the Social Security Administration (or the Railroad Retirement Board, as necessary) to make sure that you qualify for benefits in WA.
While some people are automatically enrolled without a need for signing up for medicare directly, other people need to enroll.
If you apply for retirement or disability benefits from social security, you are automatically enrolled in medicare part A. On the other hand, if you’re getting social security benefits up to four months before turning sixty-five, you will be automatically enrolled in part A and signed up for part B.
Since there is a monthly premium for part B, you will be given the option to choose to keep the coverage or not after that. If you are interested in signing up for any additional or supplemental plans, you should contact a private carrier of your choice to ask about part C coverage in WA.
Signing Up for Medicare & Premiums in Washington
Anyone enrolling in Medicare should also know about premiums in WA.
Part A typically offers $0 in premiums, as long as you paid medicare taxes long enough to qualify (usually ten years or more).
Similarly, Parts B, C, and D most often will have some premium costs associated with them, the exact price depending on factors like where you live in Washington, the private carrier you’re getting the benefits from (in the case of part C), or other factors.
Part B premiums can be as low as $170.10 per month (or more depending on your income). These prices may and will go up from year to year.
Something important to note is that there’s no yearly limit on what you pay out-of-pocket unless you have supplemental coverage like a Medicare Advantage plan or Medicare Supplemental Insurance (Medigap).
Depending on where you live and if you have limited income and resources, your state may help you cover the premiums and other costs, like deductibles, coinsurance, and copays.
While it may seem initially daunting, once you know the essential elements of when to sign up and how to sign up for Medicare in Washington, signing up just comes down to deciding the right combination of parts to fit your needs.
Now that you know how to sign up for Medicare, EnrollMedicare is here to help you find the right rate for you within minutes. We want to help you find the best combination of benefits so that concerns about your health are the last thing preventing you from making the most of your retirement years. Talk to us today to find out if you qualify, find a rate that works for you, and let us answer any other questions you might have.
Categories: Medicare Articles, Medicare Part A & B (Original Medicare), Enrollment Period, Medicare Coverage