New online service for Medicare Part B enrollment
July 1, 2020
Having trouble signing up for Medicare Part B, Medical Insurance, in the midst of these trying times? The Social Security Administration (SSA) is the agency that handles the Medicare Part A and Part B enrollment and as you may know, SSA, like so many other agencies affected by the COVID-19 virus pandemic, has not been open to the public for face-to-face assistance. This has been particularly challenging to people who need to sign up for Medicare Part B, but prefer to do business in person and/or have struggled to access SSA via telephone.
In an effort to provide some relief, there is a new online service for Medicare Part B enrollment. Who is eligible for this new service? Individuals who already have Part A (hospital coverage) and have recently retired or lost health insurance coverage from a Group Health Plan (GHP). This coverage must be through an employer, whether it was your employer, a spouse’s employer, or if you are eligible for Medicare due to being deemed disabled, your GHP may have been provided by another family member. When that coverage is lost, a Special Enrollment Period (SEP) of eight months begins. You can enroll at any time during those eight months and your Medicare Part B coverage will begin the month after enrollment and there will be no late enrollment penalty (LEP) applied. When signing up for Part B, there are two documents that must be completed: The Part B application (CMS form 40-B) and the Request for Employment Information (form CMS-L564).
The Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) and the Social Security Administration (SSA) have collaborated to streamline enrolling in Part B during this COVID-19 pandemic. As of May 26, 2020, there is a new online process available for the Medicare Part B SEP enrollment.
This new process will provide beneficiaries with the option to complete the forms online or print them out (both are available in English and Spanish), complete and mail them into your local SSA office. The link can be found at http://www.ssa.gov/Medicare-PartB-SEP.
The Medicare Part B application is very straightforward. Documents needed to complete the enrollment application will include your Medicare number (on your Medicare card), your current address and phone number, a valid email address and proof of group health plan (GHP) coverage. For the Request for Employment Information, you are required to fill out Section A and your employer, the GHP or LGHP completes Section B. However, if the employer cannot complete and sign their portion, the beneficiary can provide other evidence of employment or coverage of GHP or LGHP such as:
income tax returns that show health insurance premiums paid
W-2s reflecting pre-tax medical contributions
pay stubs that reflect health insurance premium deductions
health insurance cards with a policy effective date
explanations of benefits paid by the GHP or LGHP, or statements or receipts that reflect payment of health insurance premiums.
If you choose to submit the application online, you will need to provide a digital signature to complete the application. This online application is most compatible with Microsoft Edge and Google Chrome browsers. Both documents must be completed and submitted in one online session as the online process will not allow beneficiaries the option the save and return to the application for completion at a later date. You will also need to provide an e-signature to complete the process.
If you have questions about enrolling in Medicare Part B during COVID-19, call the Alaska Medicare Information Office at 1-800-478-6065 for assistance.