If you’re 65 years old, you qualify for Medicare if you are either a United States citizen or have been a permanent resident for at least five years. You should start preparing for medicare but you don’t need to enroll immediately if you’re still working at this age, however, although it may be a good idea to do so if you need special health insurance. Should you choose to wait before signing up for Medicare, be sure to abide by the rules or you could risk incurring financial penalties down the line.
Selective Enrollment In Medicare
The Initial Enrollment Period for Medicare lasts for seven months in total. It starts 3 months before your 65th birthday and ends 3 months following your birthday. Only individuals with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) or who have gotten Social Security Disability Insurance for a minimum of 24 months can sign up for Medicare before the age of 65.
“Original Medicare” contains two portions: Part A and Part B. Individuals who receive Social Security benefits before turning 65 are automatically signed up for both of these parts and are required to maintain Part A coverage. Part A, which doesn’t have a premium attached to it, is hospital insurance. This covers hospital stays, home healthcare and hospice care.
Part B carries monthly premiums and covers outpatient care. There are two conditions you must meet in order to postpone your enrollment in Medicare Part B (for a maximum of 8 months after either you or your spouse have left the employer):
- You have health insurance through your employer (or your spouse’s)
- Your employer has at least 20 employees
It’s also recommended that you delay signing up for both Medicare parts if you contribute to a Health Savings Account (HSA). However, you should enroll as soon as possible if you have Veterans’ Affairs (VA) health insurance, a COBRA (Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act) plan, a short-term insurance plan, or a plan through a Christian health ministry or individual marketplace (e.g. Obamacare).
Additional Medicare Coverage Options
Other affordable Medicare coverage options that offer additional benefits include:
- Medicare Supplemental Insurance. This type of policy can help cover out-of-pocket costs for Parts A and B.
- Part D coverage: This type of plan helps pay for prescription drugs. You must be signed up for Part A or B to enroll in a Part D plan.
- Medicare Advantage (Part C) plans: These plans are available through private insurers. Like Medigap plans, these plans require enrollment in both Medicare Parts A and B.
Late Enrollment Penalties
If you don’t sign up for Medicare Part B upon qualifying, you could potentially see a 10% increase in your monthly premiums. The more you wait to enroll in Part B, the more this penalty can go up. If your income is low, your state could assist you in paying for Part A or Part B.
Talk With A Counselor
Preparing to sign up for medicare is an important step, and you do not have to go through it alone. We offers meetings with our counselors to discuss any problems or anything that wasn’t covered on our page. If you would like to schedule a meeting with us, contact us today.