Applying for Medicare is easy with the right know-how. There are a few enrollment opportunities throughout the year and your lifetime that you should make note of so you can enroll or switch plans on time.
Most people apply for and enroll in Medicare at age 65 when they first become eligible. Applying at this time means that you should be able to avoid all possible late enrollment fees later on if you choose to delay it. (There are exceptions to this, which we will talk about in just a moment).
For Original Medicare, Medicare Advantage, and/or Part D, the best time to apply is during your Initial Enrollment Period (IEP). This takes place during the 7 months surrounding your 65th birthday—3 months prior, the month of, and 3 months after.
For Original Medicare, you may simply be enrolled automatically. If you have worked at least 10 years while paying Social Security taxes, you should receive a letter in the mail informing you that you have been enrolled. Always make sure that these letters are official government documents.
Medicare Supplements, on the other hand, have a slightly different window of time for enrollment. Typically, this enrollment begins as soon as you are 65 and enrolled in Original Medicare, and will last for six months. During this time, you can enroll without being 1) considered based on your health, 2) denied coverage, or 3) charged more in premiums.
For Advantage and Part D, you will have to find a specific provider and plan to apply for in your area. This typically requires a simple application submission. As long as you are enrolled in Original Medicare, you are eligible to apply. Finding the plan itself, then, will be the hardest part. An agency such as Schwenker Senior Insurance will help in this case.
What happens, then, if you do not apply for Medicare when first eligible during your IEP? Your next best option to enroll in Original Medicare is the General Enrollment Period (GEP). This takes place annually from January 1st to March 31st.
For supplements, on the other hand, you can technically apply at any point. However, when you miss that initial 6-month window, you will have to answer questions based on your health, and you may be rejected based on your application.
Applying during the GEP if you missed your IEP may result in late fees—but there is an exception. Special Enrollment Periods (SEPs) are available to those who qualify in order to enroll in Medicare coverage at any point without penalties. You can apply using a SEP if you have a disability or if you are still/have recently stopped working and have not retired.
You are also eligible for Medicare if you meet certain other qualifications. These include:
Your Medicare enrollment may be right around the corner. Or, you may be planning far ahead in advance, or perhaps you’re late to the game and need some help moving forward. Whatever the case may be, Schwenker Senior Insurance will walk you through the process and make sure you’re enrolled—give us a call today at 563-579-6116, or email us at email@example.com.
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