Making the Transition Into Medicare
Will you soon be eligible for Medicare? Congratulations! Medicare offers many benefits that you stand to gain from, especially if you’re dealing with a long-term illness. Even if you aren’t, it can help subsidize much of the high healthcare costs in this crucial stage of your life.
However, Medicare can be overwhelming, as there’s so much information to process. By reading this post, you’ll gain some insight into how it works and how you can seamlessly transition into it.
Checking your eligibility
As far as Medicare is concerned, the first thing you need to do is to confirm your legal eligibility. Medicare is a federal government health insurance program for Americans at least 65 years old. You also qualify if you’ll be 65 in the next two months.
Other individuals also qualify if they’re under the age of 65 but have been on social security disability for a minimum of two years. Finally, you also qualify for Medicare if you have ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis) or kidney failure.
Enrolling for Medicare
Medicare requires enrollees to sign up during a seven-month window referred to as the Initial Enrollment Period. This duration includes the three months before, the month of, and the three months after your 65th birthday.
There are severe penalties for late enrollment, so you’re advised to enroll within this 7-month stipulated time frame. If you miss the Initial Enrollment Period, you may have to wait to eventually register and pay a monthly late enrollment penalty for as long as your Part B (Medical Insurance) coverage is active. Additionally, you may incur penalties if you have to pay a Part A premium.
When you must enroll in Medicare
You must enroll in Medicare if you’re retired or plan to retire after you clock 65. If you’re eligible for premium-free Part A and fail to enroll for either Parts A and B when you first attain eligibility at retirement, you may be penalized. Even if you pay a premium for Part A, you still want to sign up when you become eligible to avoid coverage gaps and loss of Social Security benefits.
Choosing the right Medicare plan
Signing up for the Medicare plans that apply to your healthcare needs is essential. As these needs may change over time, you’ll also want to reevaluate this annually.
Medicare has four parts: A, B, C, and D, each offering different benefits. Check out this post to learn more about Medicare plans.
Must I sign up for Medicare if I’m still working at 65?
You may be unsure about signing up for Medicare if you still work and have employer coverage. If your company employs less than 20 workers, you must sign up for Parts A and B to avoid incurring late enrollment penalties.
If you work for a bigger company with 20 or more employees, you can delay enrolling in Part B to avoid paying premiums ($164.90 monthly or higher in 2023, depending on your income). However, signing up for Part A is advisable because it’s premium-free, provided you have paid a minimum of 40 quarters of Social Security taxes.
Get the help of an experienced Medicare expert
The most critical step in transitioning to Medicare is getting the right advice and guidance on the plans that benefit you the most. Choosing the wrong plan will adversely affect your healthcare costs in the long run, which you should absolutely avoid.
Our Medicare experts can help you through the ifs and buts of Medicare, guiding you in making the right choices that are best for your health and finances. Book an appointment today to get started.