For most people, enrolling in Medicare Part A at 65 is mandatory (if you qualify). However, if you neglect to enroll on time, there are steep late enrollment penalties. It is mandatory to enroll in Part A once you enroll in social security. Other Medicare Parts such as B, C, and D can be deferred until the coverage is required, such as when it is time to leave your or spouse's Employer Group Health Plan, avoiding those late enrollment penalties once again. Some people are still working at age 65 and have health benefits through their employer so they do not need Medicare quite yet. Each individual has different circumstances that need to be accounted for. Working with an experienced agent can help find a strategy that is best for your situation. What Age Do I Qualify for Medicare? You qualify for Medicare when you turn 65 years of age. However, you can qualify for Medicare under the age of 65 if you have received Social Security Disability for 24 months, or if you have End Stage Renal Disease. When Can I Change My Medicare Plan? You can add, drop, or change your Medicare plan during the Annual Enrollment Period (AEP). This period is open from October 17th until December 7 each year. However, Medicare Supplemental plans can be shopped for all year long. When Should You Apply for Medicare? You should apply for Medicare when you first become eligible, during the Initial Enrollment Period. This is a 7 month period. The 3 months before and the 3 months after your birthday, Which includes your 65th birthday month. If you miss this enrollment period you may be subject to a late enrollment fee for the remainder of your policy. Most people are automatically enrolled in Part A but that is not the case for Part B. You need to manually sign up for Part B. If you are still working and have health coverage through your employer you may not need Part B coverage. If this applies to you, find out when you should enroll in Medicare How Much Does Medicare Cost? The cost of medicare depends on the policy that you choose. For most people who qualify for Medicare Part A will be provided free of charge. Part B costs a monthly premium that may vary based on your income. The standard premium for Part B Medicare is $144.60 in 2020 but can be higher. Part C and Part D are additional coverage options offered by private companies, the price may change depending on the insurance company you choose. For a more in depth description of Medicare costs, read this article or speak with an agent. What Are the Parts of Medicare? Medicare is made up of four major "parts".
Part A - Hospital Insurance - Covers hospital stays
Part B - Medical Insurance - Covers doctor visits and outpatient procedures
Part C - Medicare Advantage - Can offer additional benefits/coverage beyond Original Medicare
Part D - Prescription Drug Coverage - Covers medication costs
Both parts A and B combine to create Original Medicare. What Does Medicare NOT Cover? Although Medicare covers a variety of Medical expenses not everything is covered. Some procedures that are not covered by Medicare are:
Dental Care Eye Exams Hearing Aids Long-term Care Cosmetic surgeries What is the Difference Between Medicare and Medicaid? To keep it simple, Medicare is a federal program that provides health coverage for people over the age of 65 no matter your income. Medicaid is a State run program that provides health insurance if you have a significantly low income. You are allowed to have both policies if you qualify, which can lower your medical costs even further. How Do I Replace a Lost Medicare Card? If you lost your Medicare card there is no need to worry. All you need to do is visit the Medicare.gov website where you can print your card for immediate use or you may order a new one. Once you request a new card, it will take about 30 days for it to be delivered. If you need coverage within that time frame Social Security can send a letter of verification.