How to Apply For Medicare In Nebraska For 2022
If you have paid payroll taxes (FICA) for 40 quarters (or 10 years), you are eligible to apply for Medicare in Nebraska for 2022. You are eligible for Medicare Part A at zero premium and may purchase Part B at the current cost if your income is below the IRMAA (Income Related Monthly Adjustment Amounts) amounts.
The Easy Way To Apply For Medicare in Nebraska For 2022
If you are currently receiving Social Security benefits, you will be automatically enrolled in Medicare Part A for the hospital and Part B for doctor visits and outpatient services. You will then be given the option to cancel Part B if you wish.
You cancel Part B by signing the red, white, and blue Medicare card on the back and mailing it back to Medicare. Otherwise, Medicare Part A and B will start on the effective dates printed on the bottom right corner of the card. The Social Security Administration (SSA) will also start deducting the Medicare Part B premium from your monthly Social Security check.
Applying for Medicare in Nebraska in 2022 is easy that way. It is automatic. The other way is more challenging.
Online Application For Medicare in Nebraska for 2022
Applying for Medicare in Nebraska, Iowa, and throughout the country has become more difficult and complex with each subsequent month. The pandemic pushed the process almost entirely online. Social Security personnel were absent at Social Security Administration Offices throughout Nebraska, Iowa, and the whole country during that time. Offices were closed, and most employees were working remotely.
Identity theft, cyber security, and HIPPA regulations have pushed the Social Security Administration (SSA) to add more and more levels of security to the Medicare application.
I help my prospective clients apply for Medicare all the time. While eligibility for Medicare and Social Security benefits in Nebraska begins at 65, most people are not getting their Social Security benefit checks until much later. Instead, they are waiting until the full benefit age, which is around 66 and 8 months or older. So they need to apply for Medicare online.
I probably average helping five people a week apply for Medicare in Nebraska and Iowa. The level of difficulty each person experiences is amazing. I don’t know how other people do it on their own.
How Do You Apply For Medicare Benefits in Nebraska Online in 2022?
If you are eligible for Medicare in Nebraska, type ssa.gov into your address bar. Do NOT Google ssa.gov. You will end up at all kinds of websites trying to sell you Medicare plans. The Social Security Administration logo will be in the top left corner if you are successful.
Click on Menu in the top right section of the website. Go under Benefits and click Medicare. Then, scroll down the page until you see a bright blue button that says “Apply for Medicare Only.” Click on the button that will take you to a page with a gray button that says, “Start New Application.” Click it.
Follow the prompts. The most crucial part is your My Social Security login. This is the tricky part.
Hundreds of people swear they never set up an online Social Security account. Then, when we start the enrollment process, we discovered they have a My Social Security account, and SSA requires us to use it.
Logging in to your My Social Security account may become an insurmountable obstacle if you need to provide personal verification information, like the answers to the three security questions you had set up previously. At that point, you will be stopped out and need to call or go to the Omaha, Lincoln, or Council Bluffs Social Security Administration office to get access to continue applying for Medicare in Nebraska in 2022.
If you do not have an online My Social Security account, you create one. In creating the account, you will need immediate access to email and text. With that, you will be able to set up an online account.
Follow the prompts to set up the account.
Second Form of Identification When Applying for Medicare in Nebraska for 2022
Giving SSA a second form of identification, such as your driver’s license, is vital. SSA will text a link to your phone. Then you take a photo of your driver’s license to verify who you are. Taking the photo so the system receives it can be problematic. This is the most difficult part of applying for Medicare.
Your phone’s camera software may not work well with SSA’s system, the cellular or internet connection may be weak, or the SSA system may be in a bad mood that day. Many factors can go into making the system unworkable. Be warned.
If you cannot set up a second means of verification, you will probably have to wait for a verification code to be mailed to your physical address. Then you go back in to complete the enrollment process.
More than half of the time, the system works. We get the text verification and complete the My Social Security online account setup.
When you enter your My Social Security online account through the Medicare prompts, the system pulls up the application for Medicare. Fill in the details and complete the application. The application process will assume you want Medicare Part A for the hospital since it is free. The system will ask if you want Medicare Part B for doctor visits and outpatient procedures. Medicare Part B costs something. You have the option to say yes or no.
Check On Your Online Medicare Application
When you have completed the application, you can go back in and check on your Medicare application status. A newly created box is in your My Social Security account for Medicare. There will be three grey horizontal bars going across the page. When you complete the application, one bar will be blue. When all three bars are blue, a comment underneath will say you are approved. Congrats!
Above will be a “Verification of Benefits Letter” link. Click on the link. A letter will open up. In the body of the letter will be your Medicare number (MBI), which is made up of eleven digits consisting of a combination of numbers and letters. The letter will also have the dates when your Part A and/or Part B will start.
Sometimes clients tell me they want to wait for the Medicare card to come in the mail. Bad decision. It may take over a month for your Medicare card to show up in the mail, significantly decreasing your time to select, enroll, and get your medical cards from the insurance company before your start date.
Online Medicare Application Problems
Check your account two weeks after you apply for Medicare online, and keep checking it until you have a Medicare number.
If your account says your case was sent to Salinas, CA, for processing, you need to call your local SSA office to find out why. Salinas, CA, is a black hole.
There is a problem with your application that needs to be solved sooner rather than later, and the folks in Salina, CA, are not very proactive or even active in solving your problem–whatever it may be.
All of this above-said information works if your personal information is in good order with SSA. There may be problems of which you are only aware once you enroll. For example, your name is misspelled with SSA, your birthday is wrong, your address is out-of-date, your maiden name was not changed to your married name or back after a divorce, and your naturalization date or number is incorrect. You could also be flagged as a terrorist, Russian mole, or affiliated with the opposing political party–just kidding.
I’ve experienced all of these with clients–except the terrorist one. Making corrections takes lots of time. I had a gentleman born at a Japanese civilian hospital instead of the U.S. military hospital on the base where his father served, which created a whole set of problems that plagued him throughout his life.
Getting the correct documentation takes time if it can be found. Then SSA takes time to verify the documentation and may ask for more. Then there is the processing time, which could result in you missing your intended start date. That is why you start applying for Medicare in Nebraska as early as possible in 2022.
Calling the SSA Office
You, of course, can call the SSA office or stop in to apply for Medicare in Nebraska for 2022. If you contact them too early, they will not talk with you. Too early is more than 3 months before you turn 65. Then, when they talk with you, SSA generally will set the appointment a month or two later, so you are right up against your birth month and start date. This will work if there are no problems and everything else works smoothly, but this situation usually causes anxiety for most people.
My Experience Helping Clients Apply for Medicare
I’m an insurance agent. I am not an employee of the SSA, but I feel like an unpaid auxiliary staff member. My clients need help, so I’ve learned to navigate the SSA Medicare enrollment system through trial and error. It is a system that is continually evolving.
I’m happy to help my clients. The process creates a tremendous amount of empathy for my clients for what they have to go through. Not only are they confused with all the information and choices that come with going on Medicare, but they have a government bureaucracy that is an unfriendly and confusing obstacle to overcome. I try my best to help and give encouragement when I can’t do specific tasks for them, like finding an original birth certificate with a raised seal.
As the bugs get worked out of the SSA/Medicare system, and Medicare beneficiaries become more tech-savvy, the process for applying for Medicare in Nebraska for 2022 will become more efficient–I hope.
Until then, use this guide to navigate and find your way to the end of the Medicare application maze.