Are You Eligible For Medicare?
Your golden years can be some of the best of your life, but only if you’re adequately prepared for any health problems you might face. If you live in the United States, you are eligible for Medicare, starting at the age of 65. Medicare is a form of government-sponsored health insurance for the elderly, and you will need to take a few steps to activate it upon your 65th birthday.
If you’re not already receiving social security benefits upon or after age 65, you’ll need to enroll for both Parts A and B of Medicare. Part A is hospital insurance, and Part B is medical insurance. However, there are certain times when you can enroll in Medicare, and the longer you wait, the more likely you are to face expensive premium penalties and delays.
When you’re initially eligible to sign up three months before you turn 65, you’ll have a seven-month initial enrollment period to sign up. If you aren’t automatically enrolled in Medicare, you can sign up for Part A for free at any time throughout or after your initial enrollment period. If you’re looking to sign up for both parts, though, then you’ll have to do it within this seven-month window. Moreover, waiting to sign up for Part B right when you turn 65 could mean that your coverage will be delayed, and also that you’ll have to pay lifetime late enrollment penalties. That being said, the fewer gaps you have in your coverage, the better.
The general enrollment period for Medicare is between January 1st and March 31st of every year. You can sign up for either or both parts during this time if you either didn’t sign up when you were first eligible or if you weren’t qualified to sign up during the special enrollment period.
What If You Already Have Insurance?
If you’re already enrolled in a health insurance plan provided by your employer, you are eligible to sign up during a special enrollment period. However, there are a few criteria you must meet to do this. For one, you or your spouse must be working, and you must be covered under a health insurance plan by your employer. You’ll also have an eight-month special enrollment period the month after you terminate your employment or the month after your current employer-sponsored health insurance plan ends. You might also be eligible if you serve in the armed forces or are a volunteer. Fortunately, you most likely won’t be subject to late enrollment penalties if you sign up during this special enrollment period.
You may also be eligible to enroll during a special enrollment period if you have a high yield savings (HSA) account with a high deductible health plan (HDHP). Keep in mind, though, that this is based on either you or your spouse’s current employment, so you should stop contributing to this account six months before you apply for Medicare.
Get Started Today
If you need assistance applying for Medicare, contact our office today. We would be happy to take the stress off of you and make sure that the process is smooth.