Blog courtesy of National Aging in Place Council and Anica Oaks
If you are nearing 65, you no doubt are wondering about what is involved in qualifying for Medicare. Since this will be your primary source of healthcare as you age, it is vital you know what is required of you to ensure you can properly enroll for your healthcare coverage. Rather than miss your enrollment deadline or make other costly mistakes that could delay coverage, here are some important facts you need to know about qualifying for Medicare.
For many people, enrollment in Medicare is automatic. For example, if you are age 65 and have already paid Medicare taxes for at least ten years through payroll tax deductions, you will be enrolled in Medicare Parts A and B automatically if you are currently receiving Social Security.
While most people assume you can only gain Medicare coverage once you turn 65, that is not the case. In fact, if you are younger than age 65 and have a qualifying disability, such as diabetes, ALS or other serious health condition, you can still qualify for Medicare coverage.
Medicare Part C
Also known as Medicare Advantage, Part C coverage is optional and is offered by private insurance companies. Combining Parts A and B along with prescription drug coverage termed Part D, it also offers extra coverage for hearing, vision and dental services that may be needed. To learn more about this coverage, Medicare Advantage software can be very helpful.
Initial Enrollment Period
As someone who has just become eligible for Medicare coverage, you will need to pay close attention to what is known as the Initial Enrollment Period. This period, which starts 90 days before you turn 65 and runs the first 120 days following your 65th birthday, is critical to ensuring you get properly enrolled in the program. If you are currently receiving your federal retirement benefits, you will be enrolled automatically. However, if you are not yet receiving retirement benefits, you will need to visit your local Social Security office to enroll in person, do so online at the Medicare website, or call 800-772-1213.
Though many people find themselves getting intimidated when trying to deal with government bureaucracy, enrolling in Medicare is actually much easier than most people realize. By being proactive and learning all you can about the various parts of Medicare, enrollment periods and how you can qualify for coverage, the process will be much easier than you imagined.