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

Medicare ONLINE enrollment website.

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

Check out Medicare & You for an introduction on what Parts A Hospital & B Doctor Visits cover.

See our page on How to sign up for Medicare?

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

Standard Premiums $134 for 2018 and if you have high income publication # 10536

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.

General Enrollment Period (GEP)

Medicare beneficiaries who did not enroll in Part B when they first became eligible for Medicare may elect Part B coverage during the General Enrollment Period, which extends from January 1 through March 31 each year.  Enrollment becomes effective on July 1 of the same year. Medicare & You


Anthem Medicare Supplement

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

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

    • 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

  1. 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.

  2. Where and how do I shop all the Insurance Companies to get the best coverage and premium for Part B Doctor Visits?

  3. 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 knowlege 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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