Medicare can be an overwhelming! When a person approaches being eligible for Medicare they get about 500 pieces of advertisements in the mail and likely even phone calls from call centers. Let’s simplify Medicare together…
Who can get Medicare?
Medicare is available for people age 65 or older. You may be able to get Medicare earlier if you have disabilities or End Stage Renal Disease (ESRD).
Automatic vs Manual Enrollment
If you are receiving Social Security benefits, you will be automatically enrolled into Medicare. If not, you will need to manually enroll into Medicare. I can show you how to sign up for Medicare and explain what steps will be needed.
Signing up for Medicare
You can sign up for Medicare during what is known as the Initial Enrollment Period
This is a 7-month period of time to start Part A and Part B.
It is 3 months before your 65th birthday, month of your 65th birthday, and three months after 65th birthday. If you wait to enroll, you could experience a gap in coverage and have to pay more in order to carry Medicare.
There are situations where a person has creditable health insurance coverage through active employment (or through a spouse’s active employment). Depending on that medical plan coverage you may not need to sign up for Medicare just yet. I can help and advise what would be most suitable in those situations. Depending on the situation, you can apply for Medicare later during a Special Enrollment Period and have no penalties.
General Enrollment Period is a period of time from January 1st thru March 31st. This is used in the event you missed your Initial Enrollment Period and did not have creditable health insurance through active employment. You can sign up for Medicare during this period of time and it will start the first of the following month. You will pay a late enrollment penalty which is an extra 10% for each 12-month period that you could have had Part B. This late enrollment penalty stays with you for as long as you have Part B coverage.
Other tips to know?
You cannot contribute to a Health Savings Account (HSA) and have Medicare Part A. It is advised to stop contributing to a HSA 6 months prior to starting Medicare Part A.
I have a health insurance marketplace plan (also known as Affordable Care Act health plan), can I keep it?
No, when you become eligible for Medicare you must go onto Medicare.