Applying for Medicare remotely is the easiest way to do it, taking less than 10 minutes on average.
On March 17, 2020, the Social Security Administration (SSA) made the decision to close local Social Security offices across the country. The goal was protecting both employees and the community SSA serves, which is largely older Americans and those battling chronic illness. You may still access Social Security via its online portals and the national 800 number, which is 800-772-1213 (TTY 800-325-0778). This includes applying for Medicare.
How to apply for Medicare remotely
The Social Security site has always made it easy to apply for Medicare online. It takes around 10 minutes. Before you begin, gather the following information:
- Your birthdate
- Where you were born
- Your Medicaid number (if you have one)
- Your Permanent Resident Card number (if you aren't a U.S. citizen)
If you currently have group coverage through an employer, whether yours or your spouse's, you also need
- An employment start and end date
- Current group health plan information, including start and end dates
Social Security provides a checklist that also includes the information you need to compile if you're applying for retirement benefits.
Can you apply for Medicare via phone?
The short answer is yes, you may apply for Medicare by calling Social Security's 800 number. The longer answer is yes, but Social Security is warning people to expect long hold times. They predict the 800 number will be overwhelmed with people calling with questions about their benefits, disability applications, etc. SSA is prioritizing “critical claims” calls. This includes Medicare applications for healthcare coverage.
Medicare coverage for Coronavirus COVID-19
Assuming your provider accepts assignment, Medicare covers coronavirus testing. Please see our post, Medicare Coverage for Coronavirus, for more information on how to protect yourself against this highly contagious disease.
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