If you didn’t sign up for Medicare Part B medical insurance when you first became eligible for Medicare, you now have an opportunity to apply—but time is running out. The deadline for applying during the general enrollment period is March 31. If you miss the deadline, you may have to wait until 2013 to apply.
Medicare Part B covers some medical expenses not covered by Medicare Part A (hospital insurance), such as doctors’ fees, outpatient hospital visits, and other medical supplies and services.
When you first become eligible for hospital insurance (Part A), you have a seven-month period in which to sign up for medical insurance (Part B). After that, you may have to pay a higher premium—unless you were covered through your current employer’s group health plan or a group health plan based on a spouse’s current employment. You are given another opportunity to enroll in Part B during the general enrollment period, from January 1 to March 31 of each year but each 12-month period that you are eligible for Medicare Part B and do not sign up, the amount of your monthly premium increases by 10 percent.
You can learn more about Medicare by reading our electronic booklet, Medicare at www.socialsecurity.gov/pubs/10043.html or visit the Medicare website at www.medicare.gov. You may also call Medicare at 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227; TTY 1-877-486-2048).
Vonda VanTil is the public affairs specialist for West Michigan. You can write her c/o Social Security Administration, 3045 Knapp St NE, Grand Rapids MI 49525 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org