Medicare is a government-run medical insurance program that helps cover medical expenses for people aged 65 and over who have been living in the United States for at least five years and are either permanent residents or US citizens. It is only open to people living in the United States. It is a payer-based system, meaning your Medicare benefits depend on your earnings. Thirty days after enrolling in the program, you will receive an initial letter with information about your coverage and where to go for assistance if there are any questions or issues. You will also be able to see if you qualify through your Medicare benefits website if you have a qualifying event, such as hospitalization or significant illness occurring during the interim time before enrollment.
When you’re old or disabled and can’t decide what to do, Medicare is a choice many people like because it provides you with medical insurance for the rest of your life. It also covers most of your costs if something serious happens. But Medicare has a whole range of benefits and protections that are not just limited to health care.
When Can I sign up for Medicare?
People who are 65 years old or older can enrol in Medicare. If you receive Social Security benefits before you turn 65, you’re automatically signed up for Medicare. You may also be automatically signed up for Medicare if you have a disability and receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits; if your disability started before age 22; or if your disability has lasted longer than 24 months and it is expected to last at least 12 more months. In addition, if you get Part A (hospital coverage) based on the end-stage renal disease through the Kidney Disease Outcome Quality Initiative program, you are automatically signed up for Part B (medical coverage).
Otherwise, you can enrol in Medicare at age 65 through the Social Security Administration or at any time after that by contacting your local Social Security office. In addition, some people become eligible for Medicare during the six-month period that begins three months before the month they turn 65 and ends three months after the month they turn 65.
If you are not receiving Social Security benefits when you reach age 65, but you did pay Medicare tax while working and have earned enough credits under the Medicare earnings test (or disability tested). You can enrol in Part A and possibly Part B.
You can enrol in Part B when you turn 65 or without waiting for any reason. If you’re a full-time student under age 25 (or disabled), you can enrol in Part B either at age 20 or anytime after that. You may also qualify for Medicare if you receive Social Security disability benefits according to www.clearmatchmedicare.com.
If you are eligible for Medicare and need to make specific changes to your benefits, do it by contacting the Social Security Administration, not by going to any other government agency such as the Department of Health and Human Services, a private insurance company, or a Medicare Advantage program.
Most people eligible for Medicare and Medicaid choose Medicare Part A (which covers inpatient hospital care) and Part B (which covers medical services). However, it would help if you understood that these two government benefits differ. You may have to pay out of pocket for some medical treatments.
There are many reasons why you might consider waiting to enrol in Medicare if you’re eligible. For one, if you wait to enrol in Part B until after your initial enrollment period ends, chances are good that your monthly premiums will be higher. Also, waiting can give you more time to save on healthcare costs. There are also differences in what Part B plans to offer and what Medicare covers.
But if you’re eligible for both these benefits and want them simultaneously, it may make sense to sign up for both. The problem is that you may be better off remaining on a pre-65 program or waiting until your age.
Generally, though, the sooner you sign up for Part B, the better. If you’re 65 or older but still working, ending your job could end eligibility for coverage, so sign up before that happens. If you wait and later become eligible for both programs, then typical Medicare rules apply. You generally must sign up for Part B during your particular enrollment period or pay a late enrollment penalty.Remember that these rules apply only if you’re not enrolled in Part B.
If your plan ends when you stop working because the End Stage Renal Disease -ESRD program ends, your ESRD program will help with continued medical coverage until the end of the month, covering your effective date under Medicare.
The federal government has set policies, offices, and programs to make the Medicare system operate smoothly. It’s always a good idea to ask your local Social Security Administration office what help you can get when enrolling in Medicare.