Apply for Medicare B in person or mail in forms?

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Lynette
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Apply for Medicare B in person or mail in forms?

Post by Lynette » Wed Oct 19, 2016 5:39 am

I would appreciate advice on whether I should try to set up an appointment with the SS Office to apply for Medicare B or simply mail in the forms. I am officially retiring at the end of the year and need Medicare B from January 1, 2017. As I have worked past 65, I have the form (CMS L-564) from my Company that I had Health Care coverage but it indicates that I am still employed. I have filled in the Medicare Form (CMS 40-B) applying for Medicare B. I have another form from my company that indicates when I will be retiring on 12/31/2016. I have a retirement package so that today is my last day of work though I am paid through the end of the year.

Is the recommendation to mail in the forms or set up an appointment with SSS? All of my dealings in applying for Medicare B reek of bureaucracy and inefficiency. I sat on the phone for over an hour to get someone as the SS office and was told I had to fill in the forms first. My company denied that they had to fill in CMS L-564 as my W2 indicates I have health care coverage. After a few calls I got my form but it does not indicate when coverage will end! So the bureaucracy continues .... I get supplements from two companies from whom I retired ... so how am I going to be billed .. maybe I'll ask for advice on this later.

So, should I mail in the forms or try to set up an appointment?

Thanks,

Lynette

grandmacassie
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Re: Apply for Medicare B in person or mail in forms?

Post by grandmacassie » Wed Oct 19, 2016 7:04 am

I just did this, having a significant birthday coming up in November. I thought I would have to go in to the local office b/c I was not going to send my birth certif thru the mail. When I called to make an appointment, the representative asked me a few questions, checked to make sure that all the info I gave her agreed perfectly with SSA records, and suggested that I apply online. I did (skeptically), and got confirmation within 3 weeks, card came a couple of weeks later. That was my experience. YMMV.

ralph124cf
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Re: Apply for Medicare B in person or mail in forms?

Post by ralph124cf » Wed Oct 19, 2016 7:49 am

I went to the office and had a good experience. If your income in the last year or two would push you into IRMAA territory, going in is useful as you will be asked to prove that your income will be going down in retirement and you may not have to pay the IRMAA surcharge.

Ralph

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dm200
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Re: Apply for Medicare B in person or mail in forms?

Post by dm200 » Wed Oct 19, 2016 7:54 am

I did Medicare Parts A and B online. All went perfectly.

dbr
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Re: Apply for Medicare B in person or mail in forms?

Post by dbr » Wed Oct 19, 2016 8:08 am

I did my Medicare enrollment online. Again, it went perfectly.

Lynette
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Re: Apply for Medicare B in person or mail in forms?

Post by Lynette » Wed Oct 19, 2016 8:36 am

Thanks for the replies. When you mention that you did it online, I assume that you printed the forms and mailed them in. It mentions that one should mail them to the local SS office. So question:

1. Did you mail it to the SS office on record as being your office? I am closer to other offices that are smaller and might give me better service. I would prefer to use them. Is that an issue.

2. How did you pay for your Medicare B premiums? I will have to pay the IRMAA surcharge but I'm still not completely sure what my income will be - pensions, SS and RMDs so I will simply pay and see what my income is next year. I see from the SS website that there are four methods of payment: https://www.medicare.gov/your-medicare- ... miums.html.

I do not want the payments deducted from SS as I have supplements from two companies of whom I will be retirees and I am not sure how they will bill me. So I would prefer to have a medicare coupon initially and maybe later have the payments deducted from my bank account. Do I need to specify this on my applications.

3. For those who had an appointment did you call the 800 number to schedule or simply show up at the SS office.

4. If one mails it in, how long does it take for a reply?

THANKS!

Lynette

ResearchMed
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Re: Apply for Medicare B in person or mail in forms?

Post by ResearchMed » Wed Oct 19, 2016 8:40 am

Lynette wrote:Thanks for the replies. When you mention that you did it online, I assume that you printed the forms and mailed them in. It mentions that one should mail them to the local SS office. So question:

1. Did you mail it to the SS office on record as being your office? I am closer to other offices that are smaller and might give me better service. I would prefer to use them. Is that an issue.

2. How did you pay for your Medicare B premiums? I will have to pay the IRMAA surcharge but I'm still not completely sure what my income will be - pensions, SS and RMDs so I will simply pay and see what my income is next year. I see from the SS website that there are four methods of payment: https://www.medicare.gov/your-medicare- ... miums.html.

I do not want the payments deducted from SS as I have supplements from two companies of whom I will be retirees and I am not sure how they will bill me. So I would prefer to have a medicare coupon initially and maybe later have the payments deducted from my bank account. Do I need to specify this on my applications.

3. For those who had an appointment did you call the 800 number to schedule or simply show up at the SS office.

4. If one mails it in, how long does it take for a reply?

THANKS!

Lynette
If you don't have the Medicare payments withheld from SS, then you won't benefit from the "hold harmless" feature when the cost of living increase in Medicare payments is more than the cost of living increase (or lack thereof) in SS.

RM
This signature is a placebo. You are in the control group.

dbr
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Re: Apply for Medicare B in person or mail in forms?

Post by dbr » Wed Oct 19, 2016 8:44 am

Lynette wrote:Thanks for the replies. When you mention that you did it online, I assume that you printed the forms and mailed them in. It mentions that one should mail them to the local SS office. So question:
I don't remember mailing anything in.

The process is here: https://www.ssa.gov/medicare/

I wonder if there is a difference if you are already on Social Security. I started Medicare at 65 and SS at 70. However, I never went to any office or mailed anything in for either one. They called me once about my SS app to verify details. The fellow who called informed me he was part of a group dedicated to fast tracking on-line apps and they were trying to speed up application processing that way. It was very efficient. I think the whole app was approved within a couple of weeks.

My wife had a problem with her SS app when some idiot in Chicago asked her to send in some documents. We got confused, went to the local office (nowhere near Chicago) and got the explanation "That was 'Tom' and he screws up everything he gets. You don't need to send anything in."
Last edited by dbr on Wed Oct 19, 2016 8:51 am, edited 1 time in total.

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dodecahedron
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Re: Apply for Medicare B in person or mail in forms?

Post by dodecahedron » Wed Oct 19, 2016 8:47 am

ResearchMed wrote:
If you don't have the Medicare payments withheld from SS, then you won't benefit from the "hold harmless" feature when the cost of living increase in Medicare payments is more than the cost of living increase (or lack thereof) in SS.

RM
Lynette told us above she will be subject to IRMAA, so she is not eligible for the "hold harmless" provision no matter whether her premiums are withheld from SS or not.

Lynette
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Re: Apply for Medicare B in person or mail in forms?

Post by Lynette » Wed Oct 19, 2016 9:07 am

Can I still apply in my situation? I have Medicare A but get health care through my Megacorp. The Medicare 800 number told me that I needed to submit Form CMS-L564 to prove I had coverage. I am subject to IRMAA - pensions, SS and RMDs.

Lynette
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Re: Apply for Medicare B in person or mail in forms?

Post by Lynette » Wed Oct 19, 2016 10:16 am

I held on for 40 minutes and got an answer. I have to take or mail my documentation to the Social Security Office. So that is where I will be the first day of my retirement.

Thanks,

Lynette

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Re: Apply for Medicare B in person or mail in forms?

Post by adamthesmythe » Wed Oct 19, 2016 1:41 pm

Lynette wrote:Can I still apply in my situation? I have Medicare A but get health care through my Megacorp. The Medicare 800 number told me that I needed to submit Form CMS-L564 to prove I had coverage. I am subject to IRMAA - pensions, SS and RMDs.
I was in this exact situation- registered for part A, covered for several months and then I needed to register for part B.

I sent in the forms. They lost them. Had to go to the office.

Expect a low-end experience. Take something to read.

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Taylor Larimore
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Re: Apply for Medicare B in person or mail in forms?

Post by Taylor Larimore » Wed Oct 19, 2016 2:08 pm

Lynette:

Although you will eventually received the same benefits, I think you should probably mail in the forms: for several reasons:

* Forces you to assemble the information while at home.

* May save you a long, frustrating wait at the SS office.

* Local representatives are often ill-informed (this happened to me).

* Written communication about complex subjects is usually better than verbal communication.

* Forces SS to take action.

* Put's you in line for benefits.

Best wishes.
Taylor
"Simplicity is the master key to financial success." -- Jack Bogle

Lynette
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Re: Apply for Medicare B in person or mail in forms?

Post by Lynette » Wed Oct 19, 2016 2:27 pm

Thanks for the information. My first day of retirement (tomorrow), I have scheduled myself to go and sit at SS the office waiting for an appointment. I have all of the documentation and a written letter that covers all of the details. I could mail it in but I want to know if there is anything missing and I want to make sure that they take action on it.

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Taylor Larimore
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Let us know about your SS office visit

Post by Taylor Larimore » Wed Oct 19, 2016 2:49 pm

Lynette wrote:Thanks for the information. My first day of retirement (tomorrow), I have scheduled myself to go and sit at SS the office waiting for an appointment. I have all of the documentation and a written letter that covers all of the details. I could mail it in but I want to know if there is anything missing and I want to make sure that they take action on it.
Lynette:

Please come back here with a reply and let us about your first visit to the Social Security office.

Thank you and best wishes.
Taylor
"Simplicity is the master key to financial success." -- Jack Bogle

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Toons
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Re: Apply for Medicare B in person or mail in forms?

Post by Toons » Wed Oct 19, 2016 3:45 pm

dm200 wrote:I did Medicare Parts A and B online. All went perfectly.
+1
Same Here.
:happy
"One does not accumulate but eliminate. It is not daily increase but daily decrease. The height of cultivation always runs to simplicity" –Bruce Lee

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dodecahedron
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Re: Apply for Medicare B in person or mail in forms?

Post by dodecahedron » Wed Oct 19, 2016 7:10 pm

Lynette wrote: I do not want the payments deducted from SS as I have supplements from two companies of whom I will be retirees and I am not sure how they will bill me. So I would prefer to have a medicare coupon initially and maybe later have the payments deducted from my bank account. Do I need to specify this on my applications.
This is not an option for you. Since you have already started your SS benefits, the law says your Medicare Part B premiums MUST be deducted from your SS benefits. Here is the legal citation (emailed to me by sscritic, who noted that section 402 benefits are SS benefits.)
42 U.S. Code § 1395s wrote: - Payment of premiums
(a)Deductions from section 402 or 423 monthly benefits
(1)In the case of an individual who is entitled to monthly benefits under section 402 or 423 of this title, his monthly premiums under this part shall (except as provided in subsections (b)(1) and (c) of this section) be collected by deducting the amount thereof from the amount of such monthly benefits. Such deduction shall be made in such manner and at such times as the Commissioner of Social Security shall by regulation prescribe. Such regulations shall be prescribed after consultation with the Secretary.
42 U.S. Code § 1395s - Payment of premiums

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Re: Apply for Medicare B in person or mail in forms?

Post by banjo » Wed Oct 19, 2016 7:47 pm

I am currently facing the same problem. I took Medicare A about 4 years ago, and now I want to switch off of the company plan and onto Medicare B plus supplemental but keep working. I am getting no response from my employer who seems to think that they only need to fill in the CMS L-564 when I retire. I actually intend to keep working and just switch the health insurance.

The bureaucracy is horrendous. I can't get any straight answers from anyone. I think I am going to see if I can get an appointment with a SHINE counselor or a lawyer. I will be interested in seeing how this plays out.

Lynette
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Re: Apply for Medicare B in person or mail in forms?

Post by Lynette » Wed Oct 19, 2016 8:20 pm

dodecahedron wrote:
Lynette wrote: I do not want the payments deducted from SS as I have supplements from two companies of whom I will be retirees and I am not sure how they will bill me. So I would prefer to have a medicare coupon initially and maybe later have the payments deducted from my bank account. Do I need to specify this on my applications.
This is not an option for you. Since you have already started your SS benefits, the law says your Medicare Part B premiums MUST be deducted from your SS benefits. Here is the legal citation (emailed to me by sscritic, who noted that section 402 benefits are SS benefits.)
42 U.S. Code § 1395s wrote: - Payment of premiums
(a)Deductions from section 402 or 423 monthly benefits
(1)In the case of an individual who is entitled to monthly benefits under section 402 or 423 of this title, his monthly premiums under this part shall (except as provided in subsections (b)(1) and (c) of this section) be collected by deducting the amount thereof from the amount of such monthly benefits. Such deduction shall be made in such manner and at such times as the Commissioner of Social Security shall by regulation prescribe. Such regulations shall be prescribed after consultation with the Secretary.
42 U.S. Code § 1395s - Payment of premiums

Thanks dodecahedron. My difficulty is that I get supplements from two former employers. I spoke to a representative from one and they haven't got a clue whether they will pay premiums for Medicare, reimburse me, pay premiums for Medigap, Part D?

HR department from my present employer cheerfully told me that I would be contacted two weeks after I retire - i.e. January! On Gerry L's recommendation, I bought Medicare for Dummies so I will take this with me to read.

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dodecahedron
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Re: Apply for Medicare B in person or mail in forms?

Post by dodecahedron » Thu Oct 20, 2016 8:22 am

Lynette wrote:
dodecahedron wrote:
Lynette wrote: I do not want the payments deducted from SS as I have supplements from two companies of whom I will be retirees and I am not sure how they will bill me. So I would prefer to have a medicare coupon initially and maybe later have the payments deducted from my bank account. Do I need to specify this on my applications.
This is not an option for you. Since you have already started your SS benefits, the law says your Medicare Part B premiums MUST be deducted from your SS benefits. Here is the legal citation (emailed to me by sscritic, who noted that section 402 benefits are SS benefits.)
42 U.S. Code § 1395s wrote: - Payment of premiums
(a)Deductions from section 402 or 423 monthly benefits
(1)In the case of an individual who is entitled to monthly benefits under section 402 or 423 of this title, his monthly premiums under this part shall (except as provided in subsections (b)(1) and (c) of this section) be collected by deducting the amount thereof from the amount of such monthly benefits. Such deduction shall be made in such manner and at such times as the Commissioner of Social Security shall by regulation prescribe. Such regulations shall be prescribed after consultation with the Secretary.
42 U.S. Code § 1395s - Payment of premiums

Thanks dodecahedron. My difficulty is that I get supplements from two former employers. I spoke to a representative from one and they haven't got a clue whether they will pay premiums for Medicare, reimburse me, pay premiums for Medigap, Part D?

HR department from my present employer cheerfully told me that I would be contacted two weeks after I retire - i.e. January! On Gerry L's recommendation, I bought Medicare for Dummies so I will take this with me to read.
You are fortunate to get some supplemental help from your employers and indeed, some employers DO reimburse Medicare premiums, but as you can see from the law cited above, since you are receiving SS benefits, your Medicare premiums will be deducted from your SS benefits no matter what arrangements you have. There is no option that would allow your former employer to pay your Medicare premiums directly. They will have to be deducted from your SS benefit. Your employers can reimburse, that's a transaction between you and them and it is not something that needs to be brought up in your dealings with SSA/Medicare.

Lynette
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Re: Apply for Medicare B in person or mail in forms?

Post by Lynette » Thu Oct 20, 2016 9:01 am

Taylor, asked me to describe my experience at the SS office - so far - terrific - especially in light of what I was dreading. I went to one of the newer SS Offices that is about 3 miles from me and opened at 9:00. I was delayed by construction but got there at 8:58 and joined the line. It was raining slightly but they let us in promptly at 9:00. We had to line up to fill in a screen with our SS ID and why we were there and then we got a number. I think some people had appointments. The guy in the line in front of me was unfriendly but I started chatting to some people while we waited. One lady's husband passed away last week and they only had the funeral on Friday. She was there to make necessary changes. There was a young lady of about 25 so I asked her why she was there - got married and had to change SS card! So we passed the time pleasantly.

My number got called and I was interviewed by a very pleasant lady. I had a letter and all of the forms - Application for Medicare B, letter from my employer, my 2015 W2 that showed I had Health care coverage as well as a letter for the IRS from my company that we had coverage. The lady asked for my ID, and asked why I was there. She said that I had more than enough documentation. They would give my application to someone to review and they would call me if they had any questions.

I was out of there by 8:37. So far - great experience - we'll see .....

Corrected - I was out by 9:37
Last edited by Lynette on Thu Oct 20, 2016 10:06 am, edited 1 time in total.

dbr
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Re: Apply for Medicare B in person or mail in forms?

Post by dbr » Thu Oct 20, 2016 9:17 am

We have an office near us and one some distance away. From friends who have had to deal with the offices it turns out the nearest office has a large clientele of new applicants for SS cards, people applying for SS disability, and a variety of other things to the extent that almost no one is there simply filing for benefits. The result can be a waiting room of a couple dozen people, a dozen clerks, and maybe 1/3 of the time of one clerk actually working in benefit filing and a resulting very long wait for benefits filers compared to other people. The other office serves mainly benefits filers and the waiting time is very little.

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HueyLD
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Re: Apply for Medicare B in person or mail in forms?

Post by HueyLD » Thu Oct 20, 2016 9:22 am

How did you manage to get in by 9:00 a.m. and out by 8:37 a.m.?

Nowizard
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Re: Apply for Medicare B in person or mail in forms?

Post by Nowizard » Thu Oct 20, 2016 9:23 am

Short answer: If it is not too far from home, go in person. Wait time not particularly long, can perhaps schedule appointment by telephone. My wife and I, and several of our friends, have been very pleased with how quickly it went and how knowledgeable the employees are, even bringing up questions we had not considered. One of the times when government service was excellent.

Tim

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Re: Apply for Medicare B in person or mail in forms?

Post by bertilak » Thu Oct 20, 2016 9:30 am

I signed up for SS online and there was one small "glitch" shortly corrected by a phone call.

As I did not yet understand things very well I only signed up for part A, knowing I needed at least that. I felt I needed more education about Part B.

I soon realized Part B was absolutely needed so I tried to sign up for that but couldn't get it done online for some reason. I called the SS people and was told I couldn't sign up for part B because I had already "rejected" it! Apparently they were looking at this as trying to make a change, something the online system wasn't programmed to do. I explained that I didn't "reject" anything but was simply putting off the Part B decision. They signed me up over the phone.

My point: It might be safer to go to the SS office in person to avoid any misunderstandings.
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Taylor Larimore
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Re: Apply for Medicare B in person or mail in forms?

Post by Taylor Larimore » Thu Oct 20, 2016 9:48 am

Taylor, asked me to describe my experience at the SS office - so far - terrific - especially in light of what I was dreading.
Lynette:

I am very pleased that you had a "terrific" experience with your visit to your local Social Security office. Thank you for your quick reply.

Best wishes.
Taylor
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dodecahedron
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Re: Apply for Medicare B in person or mail in forms?

Post by dodecahedron » Thu Oct 20, 2016 10:01 am

Lynette wrote:Taylor, asked me to describe my experience at the SS office - so far - terrific - especially in light of what I was dreading. I went to one of the newer SS Offices that is about 3 miles from me and opened at 9:00. I was delayed by construction but got there at 8:58 and joined the line. It was raining slightly but they let us in promptly at 9:00. We had to line up to fill in a screen with our SS ID and why we were there and then we got a number. I think some people had appointments. The guy in the line in front of me was unfriendly but I started chatting to some people while we waited. One lady's husband passed away last week and they only had the funeral on Friday. She was there to make necessary changes. There was a young lady of about 25 so I asked her why she was there - got married and had to change SS card! So we passed the time pleasantly.

My number got called and I was interviewed by a very pleasant lady. I had a letter and all of the forms - Application for Medicare B, letter from my employer, my 2015 W2 that showed I had Health care coverage as well as a letter for the IRS from my company that we had coverage. The lady asked for my ID, and asked why I was there. She said that I had more than enough documentation. They would give my application to someone to review and they would call me if they had any questions.

I was out of there by 8:37. So far - great experience - we'll see .....
I assume you meant 9:37 but thanks so much for sharing this positive experience. What a mix of life stages one can encounter while waiting, some sad, some happy. I know that I will be going in person to apply for widow's SS benefits when they reach their maximum in three years (at my FRA) because filing for survivor benefits can't be done online and I would rather bring in my marriage certificate in person than mail it in. I hope I will be as fortunate as you in having such a good experience. Last year I was able to apply online for my own record retirement benefits at 62, with a followup phone call from SSA to confirm all details, all a very good experience as well.

Lynette
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Re: Apply for Medicare B in person or mail in forms?

Post by Lynette » Thu Oct 20, 2016 10:07 am

HueyLD wrote:How did you manage to get in by 9:00 a.m. and out by 8:37 a.m.?
:D I was trying to think of some clever answer - of course it was a typo :D

Lynette
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Re: Apply for Medicare B in person or mail in forms?

Post by Lynette » Wed Nov 23, 2016 4:27 pm

Well that did not work. I was told I would receive my card in a month. There is no sign of it I called Medicare who told me to call SS. They have no record of my application for Medicare. So its likely sitting on someone's desk somewhere. So - follow up required. I am now enrolled for Part D after having had to prove that I had coverage from my Megacorp while I worked. So goes life - few more hours - few more letters.

Miriam2
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Re: Apply for Medicare B in person or mail in forms?

Post by Miriam2 » Wed Nov 23, 2016 5:10 pm

Lynette wrote:Well that did not work. I was told I would receive my card in a month. There is no sign of it I called Medicare who told me to call SS. They have no record of my application for Medicare. So its likely sitting on someone's desk somewhere. So - follow up required. I am now enrolled for Part D after having had to prove that I had coverage from my Megacorp while I worked. So goes life - few more hours - few more letters.
Unfortunately that has been our experience with Medicare also - but Social Security has always gone smoothly.

I know it's sort of the same office, but must be different departments. All our Social Security applications and changes over the last few years have gone smoothly in person, over the phone and by mail. But most of our Medicare applications and changes have been problems and we constantly receive conflicting information from the Medicare and Medicare-in-Social-Security-Office personnel. Perhaps a staff training problem.

Lynette
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Re: Apply for Medicare B in person or mail in forms?

Post by Lynette » Wed Nov 23, 2016 5:53 pm

Medicare asked me to contact the SS number. There is no trace of my application - not even pending. And I'm going to have to pay additional premiums as I was an idiot who thought I was conscientious by working longer. Not only did I pay tax on my earning, Social Security and Medicare premiums. Oh well, fewer trips overseas - pensions will have to go to paying Medicare B and D premiums.

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Re: Apply for Medicare B in person or mail in forms?

Post by fandango » Wed Nov 23, 2016 6:22 pm

I has a very good experience when I went to the SS office to apply for Part B. I had made an appointment and the agent was on time and fully answered my questions.

Since then, I continue to be impressed with the people in our local SS office as well as the Medicare claims processors. Very well trained people.

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Re: Apply for Medicare B in person or mail in forms?

Post by spencer99 » Wed Nov 23, 2016 6:56 pm

Hi Lynette,

I'm in a similar situation - older than 65, retiring in early '17 and trying to enroll in Medicare in advance (no SS yet).

I tried on line enrollment which didn't work for me. It didn't offer an option for future enrollment. I did get a helpful/informative call back from SSA. That didn't resolve my need to enroll at a future date (2/1/2017) but did result in my backing out and cancelling my application (which otherwise would have been dated as of my online entry).

After that I scheduled an appointment at our local office and the experience could not have been better. A very competent service rep understood my needs perfectly. He confirmed that he could not do the future enrollment for B (I was applying for part A as well and understood the back dating) but gathered all my information and said he could complete my enrollment via a short phone call on my target date of 2/1/17. Perfect!

Even when SSA was handling my impermissible request they were timely, informative, and competent and double all that when my request was ultimately resolved via my office visit.

I'm trying to think of other questions that came up in case they're helpful to other readers:

I scheduled an appointment by calling a toll free number and that worked well. Short wait and the service rep was up to speed having clearly reviewed my earlier contacts.

Again, my experience: online, on the phone, and in-office was all good. For me, the office visit was, I think, necessary because of my timing needs.

I seem to have been more fortunate with employer HR than you. They readily provided me with the employer form verifying my future termination date and group health coverage through January, 2017.

Interesting that SSA doesn't have a tracking number system for applications.

My early cancellation of enrollment form ( I mailed) seemed to be in limbo for a couple weeks and I just heard today it had been processed so maybe your paper work is still making the rounds.

Good luck

Lynette
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Re: Apply for Medicare B in person or mail in forms?

Post by Lynette » Wed Nov 23, 2016 7:17 pm

Thanks - I cannot apply online as I need verification that I had health care coverage. I spoke to a helpful online associate but she cannot do anything until I provide the documentation from my company. The SS rep told me that my application was not even pending in their system. As I was discouraged, she told me to mail the documentation to her and she would enter it into their system. I have sent her the documentation.

What I would advise other people who are in a similar situation is not to wait for the full 30 days but to call after a week or so and ask if there are any questions that need to be answered. The lady to whom I spoke at the SS office said that someone would review my application that evening and call me if there were any questions.

It is likely sitting on someone's in basket somewhere - maybe.

I will call back in a week if I don't receive the card. If it has still not been entered I will go to the local SS office and try to be pleasantly persistent and work my way up the chain till I get my card. I have also had to apply for a Medigap plan but this is contingent on me having applied for Medicare B.

My situation is even more complicated as I get HRA supplements from my two previous employers and I don't know how to claim which portion from whom - e.g. Medicare Premiums, Medigap etc. Live and learn I guess - maybe I'll have worked it out in six months.

Lynette
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Re: Apply for Medicare B in person or mail in forms?

Post by Lynette » Wed Nov 23, 2016 9:27 pm

Another issue of which to be aware is that if you apply for Medicare after 65, you have to prove that you had health care coverage. When I called up the Medicare number, it seems that they almost automatically send one two forms to fill in. CMS-L564 has to be filled out by the Employer. I had to call HR Department twice to ask why I had not received the form. The one employee's response was that it wasn't necessary as my W2 indicated that I had health care coverage. I also dug up Form 1095-C which is provided to the IRS to show that the organization has health care coverage.

I told the HR rep to please just complete form CMS-L564 as I needed it. I also provided a document that showed I was retiring on December 31, 2016.

I guess that I am just spoilt by having such inexpensive - and easy-to-manage employer health care coverage. For me, Medicare is about ten times more expensive that my present employer coverage. So for those who have good employer coverage, enjoy it while you have it and need to learn the intricacies of another system/s.

Miriam2
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Re: Apply for Medicare B in person or mail in forms?

Post by Miriam2 » Wed Nov 23, 2016 10:38 pm

This is what I took with me to the Social Security office when I applied for Medicare at retirement:

1 - Medicare Form #CMS-L564 - "Request for Employment Information" certified or signed by my HR dept.
2 - #CMS-40B - "Application for Enrollment in Medicare Part B Medical Insurance" - not sure I needed this, but I took it and Medicare liked it

However, none of this worked. Even though I applied in person with a competent Medicare/Social Security lady, it simply never happened. A month later when I called Medicare, they had no record of me even going into the office and no evidence of anything applied for or filed.

Lynette
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Re: Apply for Medicare B in person or mail in forms?

Post by Lynette » Wed Nov 23, 2016 10:44 pm

Miriam2 wrote:This is what I took with me to the Social Security office when I applied for Medicare at retirement:

1 - Medicare Form #CMS-L564 - "Request for Employment Information" certified or signed by my HR dept.
2 - #CMS-40B - "Application for Enrollment in Medicare Part B Medical Insurance" - not sure I needed this, but I took it and Medicare liked it

However, none of this worked. Even though I applied in person with a competent Medicare/Social Security lady, it simply never happened. A month later when I called Medicare, they had no record of me even going into the office and no evidence of anything applied for or filed.
Thanks - so what did you do? Just wait another month?

Miriam2
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Re: Apply for Medicare B in person or mail in forms?

Post by Miriam2 » Wed Nov 23, 2016 11:17 pm

I called Medicare, they "researched" me and "found" that they were supposed to send me my card, they called me back and I soon received my card. However, they paid no claims, I was still not in their "pay the claims" computer. After another phone call they determined they had Medicare listed as my secondary, not primary. That took several calls to correct.

My suggestion is not to wait too long, keep calling because different customer service reps are more knowledgeable than others.

Lynette
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Re: Apply for Medicare B in person or mail in forms?

Post by Lynette » Thu Nov 24, 2016 2:13 am

Thanks Miriam. Last night I resent all of the documentation to a SS rep who answered the phone. She said she would enter the documentation for me. This is the third time that I have taken or sent the 6 pages of evidence that I have had medical coverage while working till the age of 73.

The HRA exchange from my former employee enrolled me in Insurance companies for Part B and D. It was a lengthy interview and some of it was via voice signature. Within a few days I started to receive documentation from both insurance companies. I have my Medigap and Part D Drug coverage plan cards. They even made arrangements for payment. I will get this back from my HRA within a few months as soon as that is resolved. The Insurance companies achieved in a few days what Medicare cannot achieve in over a month.

Lynette
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Re: Apply for Medicare B in person or mail in forms?

Post by Lynette » Fri Nov 25, 2016 9:41 am

Hi Miriam, Thanks for telling me to call again and get a different rep. Now I get a different story and the lady told me that they cannot enter the information until one month before it becomes active. The lady told me it wasn't that they had not "got around to entering it" (my words) but that is how the system works. They have 30 to 60 days to enter the information. So I asked what happened if I got sick on January 1 and was waiting for them to take 60 days to enter the information. I was told that I could contact them. Imaging having an emergency operation on January 1. I produce my Medigap card but was told I also need my Medicare B. So the doctor's office calls Medicare and holds for an hour while I am dying. What a joke. :D The insurance companies have already sent me my cards effective January 1. Maybe I should volunteer to go and work with a team to update their computer systems!!!

Fortunately I usually avoid doctors like the plague so hopefully I won't get ill on January 1. Otherwise I will have to beg my company to take me back so that I don't have to deal with Medicare!!

Lynette
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Re: Apply for Medicare B in person or mail in forms?

Post by Lynette » Wed Dec 14, 2016 3:16 pm

Its becoming almost funny - still no sign of my Medicare B card yet. So I called back today and waited for 40 minutes. A nice lady got her supervisor to figure out why I got a letter about premiums I would have to pay but I'm still not in the system for Medicare B. They determined that it was because I am enrolled for D. So I am being advised to go back to the SS office who appear to have "lost" it after my visit on October 20. They decided that the documentation I sent on November 23 likely had not reached the lady in Alabama yet.

I have two appointments tomorrow but I will go the the SS security Office on Friday and be insistent that they enter the information while I watch. I don't care to how many supervisors I have to speak. I've been dealing with this for four months - reluctance of HR department to fill in the required form and then SS office "losing" my forms and the other office not dealing with this yet.

Fortunately I am healthy. After this experience, it is my recommendation to privatize Medicare to get some efficiency into the system.

Lynette
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Re: Apply for Medicare B in person or mail in forms?

Post by Lynette » Fri Dec 16, 2016 10:16 am

The answer to my question is to go to the Social Security Office in person. In addition, you are going to have to know the rules of Medicare. Today I lined up early at the SS office in the freezing weather. I was one for the first to see someone. The guy at the window tried to persuade me that I was enrolled for Medicare B. I said I was told him the 800 number said I wasn't. So I was sent to a very pleasant lady who looked at my paperwork. The problem was that a careless person in my company's HR department had the wrong date as to when my Health Care coverage started. The specialist was able to prove that I was covered by my company when I turned 65. She modified and signed the form and gave me a copy. So all solved. I do not work for them but she said she was inundated in 2008 when GM dropped coverage for retirees. 80-year old people were crying in her office. I was given documentation that I had been entered for Medicare B. Nobody knew why it was not picked up that the date of my employment was incorrect. I thought it was when the affordable care Act mandated coverage for employees. The lady also told me that Social Security is only an agency for Medicare and some of their employees do not understand it themselves.

So from my advice - we will have to know the rules of Medicare ourselves. When in doubt go to the SS office in person and try to sort things out.

S&L1940
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Re: Apply for Medicare B in person or mail in forms?

Post by S&L1940 » Fri Dec 16, 2016 10:40 am

HueyLD wrote:How did you manage to get in by 9:00 a.m. and out by 8:37 a.m.?
I believe that is a new service offered by SS, but you need to request it
Don't it always seem to go * That you don't know what you've got * Till it's gone

Lynette
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Re: Apply for Medicare B in person or mail in forms?

Post by Lynette » Fri Dec 16, 2016 12:59 pm

Typo :D I was in line by 8:40 in frigid temperature. At least I got the issue resolved thanks to the SS "expert".

Lynette
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Re: Apply for Medicare B in person or mail in forms?

Post by Lynette » Sat Dec 31, 2016 4:08 pm

Well - good news - today I got my Medicare A and B card in the mail - just when my employer's coverage is about to end!

From my experience, if you have a problem, go to the SS security office. Also one will have to know something about the procedures.

Happy New Year.

Lynette

Lawyerjoe
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Re: Apply for Medicare B in person or mail in forms?

Post by Lawyerjoe » Mon Jan 02, 2017 6:57 pm

I guess it may depend on the specific local office involved but it took my wife and I multiple in person appointments to finally get on Part B. Even with an in person visit where a staff member assured us we were enrolled, we were not; a later visit to another staff member revealed that the first person had not "input" the data, which I think means the master computer system was not updated.

At one point the clerk in the office actually told us never to mail them anything and never to put anything in the inbox they have in the office. We tried both and it appears they empty the mail and inbox directly into the trash.

Lynette
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Re: Apply for Medicare B in person or mail in forms?

Post by Lynette » Mon Jan 02, 2017 7:50 pm

Indeed, you are correct. One needs to be persistent and as the "expert" told me, the Social Security Office is only an agency for Medicare. I was given multiple reasons by the 800 number as to why I did not receive my B card. When I went to the office in person, the agents seemed surprised that I had submitted an application. I was asked to whom it had been submitted. My HR department made a mistake and instead of contacting me, it was simply ignored. So one requires some knowledge of medicare rules, persistence and personal visits.

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