This is always a popular topic; it seems we get calls about this weekly. Â Here are three common questions. Â
1 – When Should I Apply?
Medicare eligibility begins when a person turns 65, or has a qualifying disability. Â
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. Â However, if you’re already receiving Social Security, you will automatically be enrolled. Â
2 – Do I Need Part B?
When to apply for Part B is a bit more complicated. Â Late enrollment into Part B may result in paying a higher premium. Â Â
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. Â 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. Â Â
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. Â
Please remember, COBRA coverage doesn’t qualify as employer coverage, and won’t allow you to escape the penalty for delayed enrollment. Â
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. Â Large employers may not have this requirement. Â
3 –Â SupplementÂ or Advantage Plan? Â
Medicare Supplement policies provide additional benefits that can reduce out-of-pocket costs when combined with Parts A & B. Â They’re provided by private insurance companies and require additional premium payments. Â These typically exclude prescription benefits, so for this reason you may want to pick up a Part D plan. Â
Advantage plans combine Medicare Part A, B and sometimes D. Â 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. Â
I hope this helps!