Medicare Eligibility

Knowing when you’re eligible for Medicare is crucial because the earlier you enroll, the more likely you’ll qualify for premium-free inpatient coverage and the less likely you’ll face monthly late enrollment fees.

Not everyone is eligible for the same reason. For some, it’s age, and for others, it’s because of medical conditions or other physical health problems.

How Old Do I Need To Be To Qualify?

Medicare eligibility begins when you are 65 years of age. The first day of the month you turn 65 is the soonest you can have your Medicare benefits in effect. However, you can sign up slightly earlier than that.

The Initial Enrollment Period allows you to enroll as early as three months prior to your 65th birthday, and it extends up until three months after your 65th birthday.

But not all cases are the same – there is a way to qualify if you’re under 65. If you receive disability benefits, you automatically get Medicare after 24 consecutive months of getting those disability benefits, no matter how old you are.

What Do I Do Once I’m Eligible?

Many will need to enroll in Medicare if interested in the program. That entails contacting Social Security online, by phone, or by appointment and taking the steps to enroll. It’s best to do this as soon as you’re eligible because if you wait past your Initial Enrollment Period, you will have to pay late enrollment fees, which are permanent for some plans.

However, if you are receiving income from Social Security or the Railroad Retirement Board, the work will be done for you. If you’re in this group, your Medicare card will arrive in the mail within three months of your 65th birthday.

What Can I Get When I’m First Eligible?

The Initial Enrollment Period is unique because it allows you to sign up for any Medicare plan. Normally, you are limited to joining Medicare Part A and Part B during one enrollment period (the General Enrollment Period), and then you will have to wait until the Annual Enrollment Period later in the year if you want to have Medicare Advantage or a Medicare drug plan.

This is also a time to explore your eligibility for certain policies. Medicare offers extra coverage for those with certain needs. For example, you may qualify for a Dual Eligible Special Needs Plan (D-SNP) if you’re also eligible for (or already have) Medicaid. There are also Medicare Savings Programs that can help cover costs such as Part A and Part B premiums based on how much you earn on a monthly basis.

What If I Already Have Employer Health Coverage?

You do have the option to delay Medicare enrollment if you already receive health coverage from your employer or spouse’s employer. However, you need to check with your benefits coordinator first. Delaying Medicare enrollment may still result in late enrollment penalties.

Eligible Or Not, We’re Here For You

Whether you are already eligible or about to become eligible for Medicare, Peritia Advisors is on your side. When you call us, we will help you in finding the best course of action to take when the time comes. With us, we’ll help you make the most out of your situation, and then get you the greatest policy at the lowest price.

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