If you’re approaching your 65th birthday or caring for an older relative, you may be wondering how to apply for Medicare. Do you have to apply specifically, or is coverage provided automatically? What form(s) do you need? The answer depends on your unique situation and medical needs.
In this article, we’ll help you understand how to apply for Medicare in a variety of situations.
Medicare Part A is hospital insurance, while Medicare Part B is medical insurance. For most Americans with sufficient work history, there’s no monthly premium associated with Part A coverage. There is a monthly cost for Medicare Part B. Curious how to apply for Medicare Part A? You may not need to!
You’ll receive Medicare Part A and B automatically without applying if you’re receiving Social Security or Railroad Retirement Benefits (RRB) for at least four months before you turn 65. If you’re not receiving Social Security benefits before you turn 65, you’ll have to enroll with Social Security to get the coverage you need.
If you’re still working and have a group health insurance plan when you become Medicare-eligible, you can choose to delay enrollment in Medicare Part B without later paying a penalty when you enroll. When your group health insurance plan ends, you can apply online or by using the Part B enrollment form.
If you have qualifying disabilities and you’re under 65, you’ll receive Part A and Part B automatically after you’ve received Social Security disability benefits for 24 months. If you have ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease), you’ll automatically get Medicare Parts A and B the month your disability benefits begin.
Finally, if you have End-Stage Renal Disease, Medicare benefits are optional. If you want them, you will need to sign up by contacting Social Security.
Medicare Part C, also known as Medicare Advantage, is an all-in-one replacement for Original Medicare and includes additional benefits. For instance, most Medicare Advantage plans include prescription drug coverage, and some include vision, dental, and other benefits.
You can purchase Medicare Advantage plans directly from private insurance companies. The plans vary in terms of price, benefits, and medical network. That’s why it’s important to get multiple quotes and compare your options before you make a decision.
Medicare Part D is an optional add-on that you can have in addition to Parts A and B. Part D, also known as a Medicare drug plan, provides prescription drug coverage and costs an additional monthly premium.
You can apply for Medicare drug plans using the Medicare Plan Finder tool or by calling the provider directly.
As you review your Medicare options, you may find that you have a few questions. Here are some of the most common concerns we hear.
If you’re automatically enrolled in Medicare Part A and B, you won’t need any additional documentation. However, if you enroll yourself, you will need to provide your date and place of birth and information on any current health insurance, whether that’s Medicaid, private coverage, or group coverage from your employer.
Signing up for Medicare online is the easiest option if you aren’t automatically enrolled. Find and compare Medicare Advantage plans online.
With its various parts and enrollment dates, navigating Medicare can be a challenge. We’re here to make it easier for you. Contact us to speak to a licensed insurance agent who can answer all of your Medicare application questions.
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