Back “in the day” (that would be February of 2020), I advised clients to start their Medicare enrollment 2 to 3 months prior to the effective date they desired. If you were just turning 65, the online process was usually smooth and timely (3-week turnaround for your Medicare number). If you were 65+ and retiring, my advice was to head to a Social Security office at 8:20am with your L564 in hand and you’d be all set by 9:30am. All of this changed on March 17, 2020. That was the date that Social Security closed its offices due to COVID-19. Unfortunately, they appear to keep sinking deeper into a backlog of enrollment requests. During your first call to Social Security, you may be told that all they can do is schedule you for a telephone appointment 6 weeks in the future. During that call, they end with the disclaimer that it will take 30-60 more days to process your application. Total time from your first contact to getting a Medicare number – 2 ½ to 3 ½ MONTHS.Now, a couple of clarifying statements:
Information via the Colo Gerontological Society:
Medicare began the transition from utilizing Social Security numbers (SSN) to a new combination of letters and numbers, known as the Medicare Beneficiary Identifier (MBI), in 2018. Up until 12/31/2019, we have been able to continue submit apps with SSNs.No can do now. As of 1/1/2020, a MBI is required on applications to supplement and Medicare Advantage insurers.This will most greatly impact people entering Medicare and not allowing enough time to receive their Medicare numbers. I've often said that the hardest part of Medicare enrollment is NOT choosing the right Med Advantage or supplement plan, but it's getting your number from Medicare/Social Security!You need to allow yourself 3-4 weeks prior to the effective date you desire to obtain that MBI.Regardless of whether you are just turning 65 or older and retiring, I can help you with the entire enrollment process - getting that MBI, supplement or Med Advantage and Rx plans.
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