How, when, if & should does one sign up for Medicare Part B – Doctor Visits?

Please note, if you already have Part A, you can’t enroll online,  you have to fill out a form OMB No. 0938-1230 !

Please note also, that it’s been reported that  your Social Security number is required, even though there is NO PLACE on the form for it!

If you are new to medicare, be it, you are turning 65, qualified through SSDI or are losing employer coverage, this page is for you.   

See our page on How to sign up for Medicare?

Here’s the Social Security & Medicare ONLINE Enrollment and Benefit Calculator

Standard Premiums is  $148.50 for 2021 with a $203 Part B deductible and if you are fortunate to have a high income there is a surcharge  see  our webpage on high income.   If you have low income, check out our webpage on Medicare Savings Programs.

Here’s the Late Enrollment & Premium Penalty Calculator if you don’t sign up when you are supposed to and don’t have a valid exemption – reason, like having employer coverage,  not including COBRA or Cal COBRA.

#General Enrollment Period (GEP)

If you didn’t sign up for Part B Doctor Visits on time, then you have to wait for the General Enrollment Period from January 1 to March 31   to enroll in Part B.  Coverage will  start July 1 of that year.

See page 13 Publication 11036 Enrolling in Medicare it’s at the right on a full screen monitor or scroll down for smartphone.  See also Medicare & You

Please note, if you already have Part A, you can’t enroll online, you have to fill out

#application for Part B  OMB No. 0938-1230 !   

You can mail it in, but be sure to follow up that Social Security has the form.  If not, go to your local Social Security Office and enroll.  Make sure you get a receipt! 

Please note also, that it’s been reported that  your Social Security number is required, even though there is NO PLACE on the form for it!

Graph general enrollment period

Eligibility & Premium Calculator

Blue Shield Authorized Agent
No extra charge to you 

#Get Quotes & Enroll with Blue Shield 

Blue Shield Logo & Enroll

Anthem Medicare Supplement

Anthem Medicare Supplement - Get Quotes, Information and ONLINE Enrollment - No extra charge for our help

You cannot buy additional coverage through #Covered California
if you have premium-free Medicare Part A Hospital


Medicare complies with Health Care Reform, so you do NOT need to get a an Individual policy or a subsidized one from Covered CA.  It fact, it's illegal for anyone to sell you a policy!  Kaiser Health News * Covered CA Medicare Fact Sheet * Medicare.Gov Medicare & Market Place #11694  * CMS.Gov FAQ Medicare & Marketplace * HealthCare.Gov when - how to change from Covered CA to Medicare  * Social Security §1882  * Health Care.Gov

NOTE: This information also applies to people younger than 65 whose benefits begin the first month they receive disability benefits because they have Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), better known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease, and to people younger than 65 who have Medicare because of a disability and are receiving SSDI Social Security Disability Insurance.


There are a lot of ands, if or buts in this complex issue.  Please refer to the source material below.  There are some exceptions, but they are very complex.  Don't even think of getting a 1/2 correct answer over the phone. If you have to pay for Part A Hospital, then are options, like subsided Covered CA Plans. Email us [email protected] or ask a question below.

Video about Covered CA – if no Premium Free Part A – jump to 2:30  Medicare & the Marketplace (Covered CA

Links & Resources 

Sec. 1882. [42 U.S.C. 1395ss]


(i) It is unlawful for a person to sell or issue to an individual entitled [no premium] to benefits under part A or enrolled under part B of this title (including an individual electing a Medicare+Choice plan [MAPD] under section 1851)—

(I) a health insurance policy with knowledge that the policy duplicates health benefits to which the individual is otherwise entitled under this title or title XIX,

(II) in the case of an individual not electing a Medicare+Choice plan, [aka MAPD Medicare Advantage] a medicare supplemental policy with knowledge that the individual is entitled to benefits under another medicare supplemental policy or in the case of an individual electing a Medicare+Choice plan, a medicare supplemental policy with knowledge that the policy duplicates health benefits to which the individual is otherwise entitled under the Medicare+Choice plan or under another medicare supplemental policy, or

(III) a health insurance policy (other than a medicare supplemental policy) with knowledge that the policy duplicates health benefits to which the individual is otherwise entitled, other than benefits to which the individual is entitled under a requirement of State or Federal law.

(ii) Whoever violates clause (i) shall be fined under title 18, United States Code, or imprisoned not more than 5 years, or both, and, in addition to or in lieu of such a criminal penalty, is subject to a civil money penalty of not to exceed $25,000 (or $15,000 in the case of a person other than the issuer of the policy) for each such prohibited act. Sec. 1882. [42 U.S.C. 1395ss] 


Our webpages that touch on this Issue:

36 comments on “Part B – Doctors – How to sign up – Benefits

  1. Hi, I have turned 65 on last month.

    however, i’m still working in the motion picture business and plan to do so for another year or so.

    i am fully covered right now.

    I was told I should enroll for plan B.

    i am very confused…

  2. I just got Medicare Part B and the ID card. They said I would get a bill immediately. I don’t have it. What do I do? Should I worry?

    • Here’s Medicare’s webpage on paying A & B premiums

      What if my premium payment is late?

      If your First Bill payment is late, you’ll get a Second Bill. Your Second Bill will include both past amounts and next month’s premium. If you don’t pay the total amount due by the 25th of the month, you’ll get a Delinquent Bill. If you get a Delinquent Bill and you don’t pay your total amount due by the 25th of the month, you’ll lose your Medicare coverage.

      What if I have questions about my bill or the status of my coverage?

      Call Social Security at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY: 1-800-325-0778)

      If you’re having trouble paying your premiums now or if you have any questions about your Medicare premium bill, call us at 1-800-MEDICARE. TTY: 1-877-486-2048.

      When should I get my bill?

      On or about the 10th of the month.

      Sample Bill

      How about setting up an ONLINE Medicare & Social Security Account?

  3. What and how are any prescriptions or infusions paid under Part B Outpatient – Doctor Visits, as opposed to Part D Rx?

    • How can I pay my Part B premium?

      If you get Social Security or Railroad Retirement Board (RRB) benefits, your Medicare Part B (Medical Insurance) premium will be deducted from your benefit payment.

      If you’re a federal retiree with an annuity from OPM and not entitled to RRB or SSA benefits, you may request to have your Part B premiums deducted from your annuity. Call 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227) to make your request. TTY users can call 1-877-486-2048.

      If you don’t get these benefit payments, you’ll get a bill. If you choose to buy Medicare Part A (Hospital Insurance), you’ll always get a bill for your premium. There are 4 ways to pay these bills:

      1. Pay by check or money order. Write your Medicare Number on your payment, and mail it with your payment coupon to:
      Medicare Premium Collection Center P.O. Box 790355 St. Louis, MO 63179-0355

      2. Pay by credit/debit card. To do this, complete the bottom portion of the payment coupon on your Medicare Premium Bill, and mail it to the address above. Payments submitted without the bottom portion of the payment coupon may not be processed.

      3. Sign up for Medicare Easy Pay. This is a free service that automatically deducts your premium payments from your savings or checking account each month. Visit or call 1-800-MEDICARE and to find out how to sign up.

      4. Make an online bill payment. This is a more secure and faster way to make your payment without sending your personal information in the mail. Ask your financial institution if it allows customers to pay bills online. Not all financial institutions offer this service and some may charge a fee. You’ll need to give your financial institution this information:

      • Account number: This is your Medicare Number. It’s important that you use the exact number on your red, white, and blue Medicare card, but without the dashes.
      • Biller name: CMS Medicare Insurance
      • Remittance address:
      Medicare Premium Collection Center P.O. Box 790355 St. Louis, MO 63179-0355

      Note to RRB Annuitants: If you get a bill from the RRB, mail your premium payments to:
      RRB Medicare Premium Payments P.O. Box 979024 St. Louis, MO 63197-9000

      If you have questions about your premiums or need to change your address on your bill, call Social Security at 1-800-772-1213. TTY users can call 1-800-325-0778. If your bills are from the RRB, call 1-877-772-5772. TTY users can call 1-312-751-4701.

      If you’d like more information about paying your Medicare premiums, visit to view the brochure “Understanding the Medicare Premium Bill Form (CMS-500).”

      If you need help paying your Part B premium, see pages 86–88.

      Copied from Page 23


              240.2 – Conditions and Examples That May Establish Good Cause for Late Filing by Beneficiaries

              Good cause may be found when the record clearly shows, or the beneficiary alleges, that the delay in filing was due to one of the following:

              Circumstances beyond the beneficiary’s control, including mental or physical impairment (e.g., disability, extended illness) or significant communication difficulties;
              • Incorrect or incomplete information about the subject claim and/or appeal was furnished by official sources (CMS, the contractor, or the Social Security Administration) to the beneficiary (e.g., a party is not notified of her appeal rights or a party receives inaccurate information regarding a filing deadline);

              NOTE: Whenever a beneficiary is not notified of his/her appeal rights or of the time limits for filing, good cause must be found.

              • Delay resulting from efforts by the beneficiary to secure supporting evidence, where the beneficiary did not realize that the evidence could be submitted after filing the request;
              • When destruction of or other damage to the beneficiary’s records was responsible for the delay in filing (e.g., a fire, natural disaster);
              • Unusual or unavoidable circumstances, the nature of which demonstrates that the beneficiary could not reasonably be expected to have been aware of the need to file timely;
              Serious illness which prevented the party from contacting the contractor in person, in writing, or through a friend, relative, or other person;
              • A death or serious illness in his or her immediate family;
              • A request was sent to a Government agency in good faith within the time limit, and the request did not reach the appropriate contractor until after the time period to file a request expired; or
              • Delay due to additional time required to produce the beneficiary’s Medicare documents (such as an MSN) in an accessible format (e.g., large print, Braille, etc.);
              • Delay as the result of an individual having sought and received help from an auxiliary resource (such as a SHIP or senior center), due to his or her disability, in order to be able to file the appeal.

              Following are examples of cases where good cause for late filing is found. This list is illustrative only and not all-inclusive:

              • Beneficiary was hospitalized and extremely ill, causing a delay in filing;
              • Beneficiary is deceased. Her husband, as representative of the beneficiary’s estate, died during the appeals filing period. Request was then filed late by the deceased husband’s executor;
              • The denial notice sent to the beneficiary did not specify the time limit for filing for the redetermination; and
              • The request was received after, but close to, the last day to file, and the beneficiary claims that the request was submitted timely.

              42 CFR § 478.22 – Good cause for late filing of a request for a reconsideration or hearing.

              Our Medicare Appeals Page

              CMS FAQ’s Technical on the process

              I don’t like to cite non official sources, but here’s Q1Medicare

  4. I currently have a good group health care plan and will be retiring. I will retire about 6 months before I turn age 65. I plan on extending my current plan through COBRA for the 6 months between retirement and age 65. At age 65 I will enroll in Medicare part B, D etc.

    My question is:

    When I turn 65, will I be have different and potentially better part B choices because I am on a high quality group PPO plan at age 65 (not a covered California, conversion or HIPPA plan).

    Could my part B policy potentially be different, especially a higher quality part B plan, if I am enrolled in a high quality group plan when I turn age 65 (in terms of benefits and provider access)?

    Or does it not matter, everyone is in the same pool and all choices are available to everyone, regardless of whether or not you were on a group plan?

    • Part B Doctor Visits is exactly the same for everyone. To get the “best” greatest selection of MD and providers you would want to sign up for a Medi Gap plan. Plan F has the most comprehensive benefits. This would be most similar to PPO and not the restrictive provider lists in a Medicare Advantage Plan (MAPD). MAPD though generally has zero premium.

      If you are thinking of keeping your COBRA beyond age 65 and not getting Part B, that won’t work, see Medicare Publication 11036 Enrolling in A & B page 13.

      See link above to use our Blue Cross and Blue Shield affiliate sites to view benefits, pricing and enroll online. We also have tons of detail on each page in our website.

  5. Hello Steve

    I have a question I hope you can answer.

    1. My father has only Medicare Part A [hospitalization] combined with VA healthcare benefits. he did not enroll in Part B [doctor visits] when first eligible because of VA benift among other factors.

    2. In November he received a letter from orange county social services that he was eligble for medicaid [Medi-Cal in CA] and that he was also eligible for Medicare QMB [Qualified Medicare Beneficiary] effective November 1, 2015

    3. I was told by railroad retirement board that despite his eligibility for QMB that he can not elect immediate enrollmet with a November 1, 2015 retroactive date. That he can enroll now through the open enrollment period but must wait until July 1 to begin benefits.

    4. I read somewhere online that Part B enrollment becomes effective the same day as QMB eligibility.

    Do you have knowledge on this matter?

    • 4. Thank you SO MUCH for including a link to Medicare They are talking about automatic enrollment in Part B, IF one enrolls in a Medicare Savings Program, which includes QMB’s. Which it sounds like you are doing with Orange County Social Services. So, it sounds to me like you are OK. Apply and see what happens. Here’s the link or have Social Services help you. According to your reference on Medicare enrollment is automatic when you are approved for the QMB.

      3. Normally what you heard from the Railroad Retirement Board is correct. Having VA coverage is not employement based coverage that would give you a special enrollment period, as mentioned in Medicare and You page 26. They are talking about the General Enrollment Period page 25 where one can sign up January 1 to March 31 and be effective in July. There might even be a financial penalty for late enrollment.

      Be sure to read the entire page from CA Health Care Advocates on this subject. They know what they are talking about! See also our page on Cal Medi Connect. Check back with us in a few weeks and we will know more as we will be attending a Blue Cross seminar on Medicare Advantage Plans for those on Medi-Cal on the 17th.

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