Getting Started with Medicare

It may feel a bit intimidating to try to remember all the small rules and regulations associated with Medicare, but don’t let that prevent you from finding the coverage you need. We’re here to guide you every step of the way! We’ll start here with some basics to help you get started on your Medicare journey:

“How do I know if I’m eligible for Medicare?”

At age 65, every citizen must apply for Medicare (you will receive Medicare A and B).  Non-citizen permanent residents who have lived in the country for at least five years are also eligible at age 65.

If you have not already begun to draw social security, you will need to apply for Medicare when you turn 65.  Even if you do receive social security, you will be automatically enrolled when you turn 65.  To enroll in other Medicare programs, such as Part C for Advantage or Part D for prescriptions, please contacts us to see if these programs are right for you. We will discuss the different programs in a further section on this website.

“Does anyone below 65 qualify?”

There are 3 situations that qualify for Medicare for people under 65:

  1. You have been diagnosed with end-stage renal disease (kidney failure)
  2. You have been diagnosed with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (Lou Gehrig’s disease) and are receiving Social Security Disability benefits
  3. You are permanently disabled and have received Social Security Disability benefits for at least 24 months

“Is there a certain date to enroll for medicare?”

You’ll often hear about ‘Medicare Open Enrollment’ and ‘Initial Enrollment Period’, which we will refer to as ‘IEP’ from here.

You can begin the process 3 months before your 65th birthday, which is the Initial Enrollment Period. The IEP is a time frame of 7 months- 3 months before your birthday, the month of your birthday, and 3 months afterward. If your birthday lands on the 1st day of the month, your IEP will start 1 month earlier. It is important to begin enrollment during the IEP time frame to avoid penalties such as higher premiums. There are only a few specific exceptions to this rule- please contact your agent for further information regarding this subject.

Medicare Open Enrollment runs from October 15 to December 7 every year. During this time, people who already have Medicare can compare their Medicare Part D and Medicare Part C Advantage plans or change plans. People who missed their initial enrollment period can also add new coverage during Open Enrollment. Whenever you see the phrase or hear ‘Medicare Open Enrollment’, that is what’s being referred to.