Medicare can be a confusing subject. It’s often hard to understand exactly what Medicare is, what it offers, and which Medicare plan is best for you. This article will detail the main facts you need to know about Medicare enrollment.
What is Medicare?
Medicare provides health insurance for people who are 65 years of age or older. There are some exceptions, as young people with certain disabilities and people with End-Stage Renal disease may also qualify. This program is federally funded and has existed since 1965.
What Does Medicare Cover?
There are different plans for Medicare that cover different aspects of your health.
- Plan A covers potential hospital stays, hospice, at home stays, and care in a facility with trained nurses.
- Plan B covers your typical health costs such as routine doctor checkups.
These plans belong to what’s known as Original Medicare. It is still available, but you can also bundle Original Medicare into Medicare Advantage, known as Part C. This is a private insurance separate from Original Medicare. With Medicare Advantage, you will typically receive Plan D as well, which covers some of your expensive prescriptions.
When is the Medicare Enrollment Period?
There are two enrollment periods, known as the Open Enrollment Period and Annual Enrollment Period interchangeably. The fall period is October 15th-December 7th, with changes made to your plan beginning January 1st. The second enrollment period is January 1st-March 31st. These enrollment periods allow you to make changes to your existing Medicare plan and anticipate changes made to the Medicare program, such as rising premiums.
When Can I Sign Up For Medicare?
Your Initial Enrollment Period occurs around six months before your 65th birthday. If you miss this, you can sign up for Plan B during the spring enrollment period starting on January 1st. Signing up after your Initial Enrollment Period will cost a premium penalty, however. Another option is the Special Enrollment Period. You are eligible for this if you:
- Have or have had work insurance within the past eight months
- Have not been uninsured more than eight consecutive months
- Have been covered by work insurance or Medicare since your Initial Enrollment Period
What Should I Bring to Enroll?
If you aren’t automatically signed up for Medicare through Social Security retirement or other means, you will have to sign up personally. When enrolling, make sure to bring these items:
- Driver’s license
- Birth certificate
- Social security card
- Proof of citizenship
- W-2 or proof of employment/retirement
- Existing health insurance policy
If you’re qualified for Medicare and wish to enroll, speak with one of our agents to discover the best Medicare plan for you.
Also Read: What is Medicare Part B and What Does It Cover? and What is Medicare Part A and What Does it Cover?