Enrolling in Medicare involves more steps than most people realize and the process has recently changed.
Applying for Medicare A and/or B is done through Social Security. If an application for Medicare A and B is for someone who paid in to Social Security (not a spouse, ex-spouse, or deceased spouse) then an on-line process can be used for Medicare Part A and also for Part B (if applying for B around one’s 65th birthday).
An on-line process rather than going to a Social Security office? This sounds great so far.
Unfortunately, this process changed last year to require the worker to have a user name and password for their My Social Security on-line account. Many people do not know they can create such an on-line account. Even when they do the security questions that are asked can be an impediment. The security questions are typically culled from information credit bureaus have about you — often financial information, mortgage or land records. And if you signed loans or leases for young adult children, you may have questions related to those obligations or even cross-streets near an apartment’s location.
Some questions asked:
- What is the first credit card you ever had?
- Through what bank did you have a car loan in 1996?
- How many rooms did the house you lived in 2003 have?
Many of our clients have been temporarily locked out after unsuccessful attempts; others have had to go to a Social Security office to complete the process. And, remember, this is just a pre-application task, – a “get to go,” if you will for the actual A and/or B enrollment process.
Enrolling in Medicare can be challenging. Medicare A, B, D, supplements and Advantage plans have distinct rules. Most people going on Medicare have at least three and sometimes four enrollment processes to complete. Plan ahead and start early.
If you would like our help, Healthcare Navigation has offered a Medicare Essentials Consultation and our more comprehensive Medicare Coverage Transition service for many years. More information is available on the web site, www.healthcarenavigation.com or call us at (877) 811-8211.
Maura Carley, MPH, CIC
Founder and President
Author, Health Insurance: Navigating Traps and Gaps