how do I enroll in medicare?

How do I enroll in medicare?With Original Medicare, enrollment can be as easy as opening your mail and putting your Medicare card in your wallet. For some other plans, you'll probably have to work a bit harder.

enrolling in original medicare

When it comes to Original Medicare, enrollment could be a piece of cake. If you're already receiving Social Security or Railroad Retirement Board benefits and you're a U.S. resident, the government automatically enrolls you in both Part A and Part B at age 65. Three months prior to your 65th birthday, your Medicare card will arrive in the mail with instructions.

At this point, you'll actually have the option to turn down Medicare Part B, but you probably won't want to do that unless you have another means of coverage for Part B expenses.

(You may, for instance, be receiving coverage from your spouse's employer-sponsored insurance.) If you decide to not enroll in Part B, but plan to enroll at a later date, you will pay a higher premium – 10 percent higher for each year you could have enrolled, but did not.

If you are 65, but you're not receiving Social Security or railroad retirement benefits, you won't be automatically enrolled in Original Medicare. Instead, you'll be able to enroll during one of three enrollment periods.

If you'll be eligible for Social Security at age 65, you'll enroll at a local Social Security office or by mailing a signed and dated letter with your name, Social Security number and the date you'd like to be enroll to Social Security.

If you're receiving railroad retirement benefits, you can enroll by contacting your Railroad Retirement Board field office.

enrolling in medicare advantage

To join a Medicare Advantage Plan, you will need to have Original Medicare (Part A and Part B) coverage and live in an area where an Advantage Plan is offered. (A plan may be offered in a state, but not in every county in that state.)

You're also limited as to when you can enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan. You can enroll when you're first eligible for Medicare. If you have Social Security Disability Insurance, you can enroll in the 25th month of your disability or during the three months before or after that month. And if, later on, you want to change your status, you can do that during Medicare's Open Enrollment period.

If you plan to enroll through a carrier's Web site, you may want to compare Medicare Advantage Plans first at Medicare's site. Often, you can also get enrollment information at seminars hosted by the plan carriers.

Since Medicare Advantage Plans generally cover all of your Medicare-related expenses – including prescription drug coverage – you enroll in a plan through the private carrier. You then use the insurance card issued by the carrier.

If you decide to switch to a different Advantage plan, it's easy. When you switch to the new plan, your existing plan will disenroll you with no lapse in coverage.

enrolling in medicare part D

You're first eligible to enroll in Part D when you're first eligible for Medicare. When you apply, you will enroll through a private plan and must enroll during a seven-month period that starts three months prior to the month that you reach age 65. If you don't enroll during this period, you may pay a late-enrollment penalty that will raise your Part D premium when you do decide to purchase coverage.

If you're Medicare eligible because you're disabled AND you've reached age 65, you can enroll in a Part D plan, switch Part D plans, or drop your Part D plan during this seven-month period.

If you're newly eligible because you're disabled, you can enroll starting 21 months after you began receiving RRB or Social Security benefits and have through the 27th month to enroll. Your Part D coverage will start 24 months after you receive RRB or Social Security benefits.

If you don't have Part A and enroll in Part B during the Part B General Enrollment period, you can enroll in Part D between April 1 and June 30. Or, if you have Part A coverage and then enroll in Part B during the Part B General Enrollment Period, you can enroll in Part D between April 1 and June 30.

And if, later on, you want to change your Part D status, you can do that during Medicare's Open Enrollment period.

After you've chosen from the various PDP offerings, you can enroll by:

Once you apply for Plan D, it generally takes five weeks for your membership card to arrival. During that time, if you need prescription medications, most pharmacies will accept the initial letter you received from Medicare acknowledging your upcoming membership, or an enrollment confirmation number. Your options are a stand-alone prescription drug plan (PDP) through Original Medicare or coverage through a private health plan (such as an HMO or PPO).

enrolling in medigap

It's essential that you learn about enrolling in Medigap well in advance of your application. During your specified enrollment period, you can't be denied Medigap coverage or be charged more for the coverage because of a past medical condition.

If you miss your enrollment period, you may still be able to buy a policy, but a carrier may charge you more for the policy. Or worse, a carrier could decline to issue a Medigap policy entirely.

To find out about Medigap policies in your state, contact your State Department of Insurance or your State Health Insurance Assistance Program.

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eligibility & enrollment

am i eligible for medicare?am i eligible for medicare?

For most folks, eligibility for Original Medicare is as simple as reaching age 65. But your eligibility for premium-free Medicare coverage – and for other Medicare plans – depends on such factors as your work history and health status.

Obama and medicareimportant enrollment dates

If "you snooze," you could stand to lose a lot by missing the initial enrollment periods for certain Medicare plans. (Premiums for some plans climb 10 percent for each year you could have signed up, but didn't.)

how do i enroll in medicare?how do i enroll in medicare?

With Original Medicare, enrollment can be as easy as opening your mail and putting your Medicare card in your wallet. For some other plans, you'll probably have to work a bit harder.


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