Back when 30 seemed old, you may not have believed this day would come – the day you become eligible for Medicare. Turning 65 is a big life event, and thousands of baby boomers are doing it every day. Here’s what you need to know right off the bat, you:
When to Enroll in Medicare?
Your first chance to sign up for Medicare is called your Initial Enrollment Period (IEP). It happens around your 65th birthday and lasts a total of 7 months. It includes your birthday month plus the 3 months before and the 3 months after. It’s best to sign up early to avoid gaps in coverage and late enrollment penalties.
Medicare enrollment happens automatically for some people. Others need to enroll themselves when they first become eligible. It all depends on your situation.
You may be enrolled in Medicare automatically if you currently receive Social Security or Railroad Retirement Board benefits. You’ll receive a Medicare card in the mail a few months before your 65th birthday and still have an IEP to make Medicare coverage decisions.
Why would you need more than Original Medicare?
Original Medicare (Part A and Part B) doesn't pay 100% of your health care costs, and some services aren't covered. You have additional Medicare coverage options when you are enrolled in both Part A and Part B. These include Medicare and Medicare-related plans offered through private insurance companies. Video: https://youtu.be/oOClkw1TNks
If you have both Part A and Part B, you may choose to do one of the following:
There are no right or wrong choices here. Make decisions based on health care needs and budget. Your choices don’t have to be forever. You can change your Medicare coverage choices each year during Medicare Open Enrollment – October 15, 2018 to December 7, 2018 – or during a Special Enrollment Period, if you qualify.
Medicare Prescription Drug Plan late-enrollment penalty
If you don’t enroll in a Medicare Prescription Drug Plan (Medicare Part D or a Medicare Advantage plan that includes prescription drug coverage, called a Medicare Advantage Prescription Drug plan) during the Initial Enrollment Period (IEP) for Part D, you may have to pay a late-enrollment penalty to enroll in a Part D plan later. You won’t have to pay this penalty if you:
The late-enrollment penalty for Medicare Prescription Drug Plans depends on how long you go without creditable coverage. The late-enrollment penalty is calculated by multiplying 1% of the “national base beneficiary premium” by the number of months you were eligible, but did not apply, for a Medicare Prescription Drug Plan. This amount is rounded to the nearest 10 cents and added to your monthly prescription drug plan premium. The national base beneficiary premium may change each year, so the late-enrollment penalty may also change each year. Beneficiaries may have to pay the late-enrollment penalty the whole time they’re enrolled in a Medicare Prescription Drug Plan.
If all this is as clear as mud, watch this short video again, “How to Understand Medicare Plans.”
Also visit medicaremadeclear.com for more details.