3 Common Medicare Questions

This is always a popular topic; it seems we get calls about this weekly.  Here are three common questions.  

1 – When Should I Apply?

Medicare eligibility begins when a person turns 65, or has a qualifying disability.  

Applicants should start applying for Part A of Medicare the three months prior to a client’s 65th birthday, as well as that month, and three months after.  However, if you’re already receiving Social Security, you will automatically be enrolled.  

2 – Do I Need Part B?

When to apply for Part B is a bit more complicated.  Late enrollment into Part B may result in paying a higher premium.    

If you don’t have employer group coverage, then you should apply during your seven-month initial enrollment period.

If you are covered under a group health plan, you may qualify for a special enrollment period.  If this is the case, you can delay enrolling in Pat B until your group health coverage is terminated, and avoid the late enrollment penalty.   

The eight month special period starts the month after the end of either employment or the group health insurance coverage based on that employment – whichever happens first.  

Please remember, COBRA coverage doesn’t qualify as employer coverage, and won’t allow you to escape the penalty for delayed enrollment.  

Another thing to keep in mind is that some employers (mostly small) may require Part B coverage to be integrated with their existing insurance plans.  Large employers may not have this requirement.  

3 – Supplement or Advantage Plan?  

Medicare Supplement policies provide additional benefits that can reduce out-of-pocket costs when combined with Parts A & B.  They’re provided by private insurance companies and require additional premium payments.  These typically exclude prescription benefits, so for this reason you may want to pick up a Part D plan.  

Advantage plans combine Medicare Part A, B and sometimes D.  These policies bundle coverage into a single Medicare approved health plan offered by a private insurance company. These plans tend to feel more like traditional employer health plans.  

I hope this helps!

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