Signing up for Medicare has never been easier. Last week marked the beginning of a new way for older adults to enroll for Medicare — on the internet. Patricia Barry reports:
This new kind of application “will make it easier than ever to sign up for Medicare,” said Social Security Commissioner Michael J. Astrue at the program’s launch in Los Angeles. The rollout will be promoted in advertising spots featuring actress Patty Duke and the cast of her 1960s sitcom show.
In the past, people typically retired at age 65 and signed up for both Social Security retirement benefits and Medicare at that time. But full retirement age for receiving benefits is now 66 and will eventually rise to 67, even though Medicare entitlement still begins at 65. Also, far more people are now working beyond age 65 and delaying retirement benefits.
“Now that the full retirement age is getting later and people are delaying retirement, about 500,000 people a year are looking to file for Medicare alone,” says Anita Kelly Bible, manager of the online project at the Social Security Administration (SSA). “So we figured this was a good opportunity to put out an online application that we think people can use quickly and easily.”
But not everyone prefers the online route, so folks will — of course — still have the opportunity to do it offline, whether it be via phone at 1-800-772-1213 or in person at their local Social Security office. If you are interested in applying online, it’s easy as pie, just go to http://www.ssa.gov and click on “Applying Online for Retirement/Medicare benefits.” Good luck!