Enrolling in Medicare during COVID-19 Pandemic ** UPDATED 6/2/2020
May 18, 2020
Lori Howell on LinkedIn
Currently, all local Social Security offices are closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. To reduce the spread of the virus, the offices are closed to visitors, but some work is still being done at the local offices. If you need to enroll in Medicare now or in the near future, you can still do so. But the process depends on whether you are already enrolled in Medicare Part A and wish to enroll in Part B, or if you need to enroll in both Part A and Part B.
Enrolling in Part B only (already enrolled in Part A)
Social Security has now updated their website to allow you to enroll in Medicare Part B online.
Scroll down to "Already Enrolled in Medicare" and click on "Apply Online for Medicare Part B During a Special Enrollment Period"
To locate your local Social Security office, use the link secure.ssa.gov/ICON/main.jsp and enter in your Zipcode. The phone number to call your local office will be listed under “Additional Office Information”.
Call your local Social Security office and speak with a representative to determine if the office is accepting applications for enrollment into Part B of Medicare.
- Document the Full Name of the representative you speak with and note the date/time of your call.
- Ask the representative if there is someone in the office who you should address ATTENTION to on the mailing envelope.
If you cannot reach your local Social Security office, you can call the National Social Security number 1-800-772-1213 but expect long wait times.
If unable to mail enrollment forms directly to your local Social Security office, you can fax the application forms, along with proof of employment, Group Health Plan (GHP) or Large Group Health Plan (LGHP) coverage to Social Security using 1-833-914-2016.
Complete forms CMS-40B (Application for Enrollment in Medicare B (Medical Insurance)) and CMS-L564 (Request for Employment Information).
- CMS-40B: Complete application. In Section 12 “Remarks”, state on the form “I want Part B coverage to begin (MM/YY)” filling in the month/year you wish coverage to start (ex. 07/20). NOTE: Medicare coverage always starts on the 1st of the month.
- CMS-564: Complete Section A of application. Employer providing current coverage needs to fill out Section B.
- If Employer cannot fill out Section B, due to being closed, you can fill it out on their behalf.
- If you fill out Section B for your Employer, you will also need to submit one document as proof of employment-based health insurance coverage. Examples of this proof include:
- • Income tax returns that show health insurance premiums paid
- • W-2s reflecting pre-tax medical contributions
- • Pay stubs that show health insurance premiums deducted
- • Health insurance cards that show the date the policy began
- • Explanation of benefits paid by the job-based insurance
- • Statements or receipts that show paid health insurance premiums
Make copies of all completed forms and documentation for your records.
If mailing to your local Social Security office, send originals of completed forms and documentation, if needed, by Certified Mail. When you use Certified Mail, you get a receipt and confirmation that your mail was delivered. You will have proof that you mailed in your application which can be helpful in case there are any problems with your enrollment.
Create a “MySocialSecurity” account on SSA.gov so that you can track the progress of your application. Social Security is currently stating that it will take 21 day to process your application. Check your account frequently to view confirmation letter and Part B effective date.
Enrolling into Part A and Part B together (not previously enrolled in Part A)
You can enroll in Medicare Parts A and B online through the SSA.gov website. Create a “MySocialSecurity” account to complete the enrollment. You can enroll in Medicare Only without starting your Social Security benefits. Enrollment confirmation may take a few days. Check your account frequently to view confirmation letter and obtain new Medicare number and effective dates