Medicare

Medicare is the federal health insurance program for people 65 or older, certain younger people with disabilities, and anyone with End-Stage Renal Disease (ESRD).

 

In general, individuals are eligible for Medicare if they (or their spouse) worked for at least 10 years in Medicare-covered employment and are at least 65 years old and are a citizen or permanent resident of the United States of America.

Individuals who are under 65 years old can also be eligible if they are disabled or have ESRD.  To qualify, you must be receiving disability benefits from either Social Security or the Railroad Retirement Board for at least 24 months before Medicare automatic enrollment occurs.

 

Many beneficiaries are "dual-eligible". This means they qualify for both Medicare and Medicaid. In some states, Medicaid will help pay the beneficiaries' Part B premium and also help pay for drugs that are not covered by Part D.

When Can I Enroll In Medicare?

If you’re eligible for free Part A, you can sign up for Part A anytime during your Initial Enrollment Period. However, you can only sign up for Part B (or Part A if you have to buy it) during the times listed below. Remember, if you don’t sign up for Part A and Part B when you’re first eligible, you may have to pay a late enrollment penalty for as long as you have the coverage.

 

Initial Enrollment Period

You can first sign up for Part A and/or Part B during your 7-month Initial Enrollment Period. The IEP begins 3 months before the month you turn 65, includes the month you turn 65, and ends 3 months after you turn 65. If you sign up for Part A and/or Part B during the first 3 months of your Initial Enrollment Period, in most cases, your coverage starts the first day of your birthday month. However, if your birthday is on the first day of the month, your coverage will start the first day of the prior month.

 

If you enroll in Part A and/or Part B the month you turn 65 or during the last 3 months of your Initial Enrollment Period, the start date for your Medicare coverage will be delayed.

 

General Enrollment Period

If you weren't automatically enrolled in Medicare, and you missed your IEP, you can still apply for Medicare Part A and/or Medicare Part B during the General Enrollment Period. The General Enrollment Period runs from January 1 to March 31 each year. However, if you enroll in Medicare during the General Enrollment Period, your coverage begins in July.

 

Special Enrollment Period

If you (or your spouse) are still working, you may have a chance to sign up for Medicare during a Special Enrollment Period. If you didn’t sign up for Part B (or Part A if you have to buy it) when you were first eligible because you’re covered under a group health plan based on current employment (your own, a spouse’s, or if you’re disabled, a family member’s), you can sign up for Part A and/or Part B:

 

• Anytime you’re still covered by the group health plan

• During the 8-month period that begins the month after the employment ends or the coverage ends, whichever happens first.

 

Usually, you don’t pay a late enrollment penalty if you sign up during a Special Enrollment Period. This Special Enrollment Period doesn’t apply to people with End-Stage Renal Disease (ESRD).

Medicare

Medicare is the federal health insurance program for people 65 or older, certain younger people with disabilities, and anyone with End-Stage Renal Disease (ESRD).

 

In general, individuals are eligible for Medicare if they (or their spouse) worked for at least 10 years in Medicare-covered employment and are at least 65 years old and are a citizen or permanent resident of the United States of America.

Individuals who are under 65 years old can also be eligible if they are disabled or have ESRD.  To qualify, you must be receiving disability benefits from either Social Security or the Railroad Retirement Board for at least 24 months before Medicare automatic enrollment occurs.

 

Many beneficiaries are "dual-eligible". This means they qualify for both Medicare and Medicaid. In some states, Medicaid will help pay the beneficiaries' Part B premium and also help pay for drugs that are not covered by Part D.

When Can I Enroll In Medicare?

You can first sign up for Part A and/or Part B during your 7-month Initial Enrollment Period. The IEP begins 3 months before the month you turn 65, includes the month you turn 65, and ends 3 months after you turn 65. If you sign up for Part A and/or Part B during the first 3 months of your Initial Enrollment Period, in most cases, your coverage starts the first day of your birthday month. However, if your birthday is on the first day of the month, your coverage will start the first day of the prior month.

 

Initial Enrollment Period

You can first sign up for Part A and/or Part B during the 7-month period that begins 3 months before the month you turn 65, includes the month you turn 65, and ends 3 months after the month you turn 65. If you sign up for Part A and/or Part B during the first 3 months of your Initial Enrollment Period, in most cases, your coverage starts the first day of your birthday month. However, if your birthday is on the first day of the month, your coverage will start the first day of the prior month.

 

If you enroll in Part A and/or Part B the month you turn 65 or during the last 3 months of your Initial Enrollment Period, the start date for your Medicare coverage will be delayed.

 

General Enrollment Period

If you weren't automatically enrolled in Medicare, and you missed your IEP, you can still apply for Medicare Part A and/or Medicare Part B during the General Enrollment Period. The General Enrollment Period runs from January 1 to March 31 each year. However, if you enroll in Medicare during the General Enrollment Period, your coverage begins in July.

 

Special Enrollment Period

If you (or your spouse) are still working, you may have a chance to sign up for Medicare during a Special Enrollment Period. If you didn’t sign up for Part B (or Part A if you have to buy it) when you were first eligible because you’re covered under a group health plan based on current employment (your own, a spouse’s, or if you’re disabled, a family member’s), you can sign up for Part A and/or Part B:

 

• Anytime you’re still covered by the group health plan

• During the 8-month period that begins the month after the employment ends or the coverage ends, whichever happens first.

 

Usually, you don’t pay a late enrollment penalty if you sign up during a Special Enrollment Period. This Special Enrollment Period doesn’t apply to people with End-Stage Renal Disease (ESRD).