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ing at your Medicare card because it will list what coverage you have. If you aren’t receiving social security or railroad benefits, you can enroll by contacting your local social security office. Other people who may sign up for Medicare include:

  • people between the ages of 50 and 65 who are disabled widow(er)s who haven’t applied for social security disability benefits because they are receiving another type of social security benefit

  • those who are government employees and became disabled before age 65

  • a worker, or his or her spouse or dependent child who has permanent kidney failure

  • those who had Medicare medical coverage (Part B) in the past, but dropped the insurance

  • those who turned down the medical coverage (Part B) when they became entitled to hospital insurance (Part A) There are three ways to enroll in Medicare: initial enrollment,

general enrollment, and special enrollment.

INITIAL ENROLLMENT. Prior to your 65th birthday, you can submit an enrollment application at your local Social Security office. When you become eligible for Part A, you may sign up for Part B. You have a seven-month window around your 65th birthday in which to apply for Medicare Part B coverage, beginning three months before your birthday. If you apply during the three months before you turn 65, your coverage will begin in your birthday month. (See Table 13.6.) However, if you apply during your birthday month or the three months following your birthday, your coverage will be delayed for up to three months. If you are eligible for Medicare because of a dis- ability or permanent kidney failure, your seven-month period depends on the date that your disability or treatment began.

GENERAL ENROLLMENT. If you choose not to enroll in Part B during the initial enrollment period, you still have another chance each year. A general enrollment period occurs from January 1 to March 31 every year, with your coverage beginning the following July. If you enroll during the general enrollment period, you will face a “penalty” for not signing up sooner. Your premium will be increased by 10 percent for

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