It is important when you are approaching the age at which you are eligible to fully understand Medicare’s enrollment timelines.
There are two primary parts of Medicare – Medicare Part A and Medicare Part B.
Medicare Part A covers you if you go into the hospital as an in-patient or if you go into a Skilled Nursing Facility for rehabilitation.
Medicare Part B covers you for almost all other health services such as doctor visits, outpatient surgery and services, Emergency room care, x-rays, laboratory work, physical therapy, sophisticated diagnostic testing such as MRIs and some medications if they are administered in a medical facility.
When you become eligible for Medicare you can enroll in Medicare Part A only or Medicare Part A and B.
Medicare Part A and B together generally cover approximately 80 percent of your health care costs.
In most situations you become eligible for Medicare the 1st day of the month in which you turn 65.
As an example, if your birthday is November 25, 1954, your eligibility for Medicare begins November 1, 2019.
An exception to this rule is if your birthday is on the 1st day of the month. In this case, your eligibility for Medicare starts on the 1st day of the previous month.
For example, if your birthday is February 1, 1955, your eligibility for Medicare starts on January 1, 2020.
If you are collecting Social Security four months before your effective date, you will automatically be enrolled in Medicare Parts A and B to take effect on your eligibility date.
In this case, if you are collecting Social Security you will receive your Medicare card in the mail around three and a half months before your eligibility date. If your eligibility date is January 1, 2019, your card will arrive in your mailbox around September 10, 2019.
Your card will be in a 4 X 6 white envelope with a return address of the U.S. Department of Human Services. Because you receive so much junk mail about Medicare many people do not realize this piece of mail is important and they throw it away.
If you do accidentally throw your Medicare card away, you can get a replacement by registering for an online account at www.medicare.gov.
If you are not collecting Social Security four months before your eligibility date, you can enroll online for either Medicare Part A or both Medicare Part A and B at www.socialsecurity.gov.
For details on how to enroll in Medicare online, please click on the following link
If you have credible health insurance through an employer, you can choose to delay Medicare Part B without penalty until the time you leave that coverage.
In this situation, you should enroll in Medicare Part A only unless you are contributing to a Health Savings Account. Once you enroll in Medicare Part A you are no longer eligible to contribute to an HSA.
If you do have coverage through an employer, you have the option of either staying on the coverage or leaving that coverage and going on full Medicare. You should compare your monthly premiums and potential out-of-pocket costs with your employer coverage to your costs with Medicare.
Please click the following link to learn more about comparing your employer coverage to your Medicare options.
When you start full Medicare – Medicare A and B – you will need a Medicare Supplement to pay your 20 percent share of Medicare and a Medicare Part D drug plan to help you pay for any medications you currently take or may be prescribed in the future.
At Medicare Answer Center we appreciate the privilege of assisting you with learning about your Medicare options so you can make the right permanent Medicare decision.
Simply click the following link to schedule a free, no-obligation 30-minute Medicare consultation.
I look forward to talking with you soon.
Charles Bradshaw is President and Founder of MedicareAnswerCenter.com.
p.s. If you know of someone who needs help with their Medicare, please share this with them.