Most of us know that, at some point in the future, Medicare will provide for our health insurance needs. Typically we expect this coverage to begin around the time we retire. But if you’re like most people, you’re probably wondering, “When exactly do I enroll in Medicare? And how do I do that?” No worries; we have the answers you need.
In most cases, you will sign up for Medicare when you turn age 65. You can enroll at any point beginning three months prior to the month in which your birthday falls, during your birthday month, or for three months afterward. If you sign up before you turn 65, coverage begins on your birthday.
Don’t be late, because you can be charged a penalty in the form of higher premiums for the rest of your life.
There are some exceptions to this rule. If you’re still working, and your employer provides a group benefits plan that includes healthcare coverage, you might be able to delay your Medicare enrollment. Or, you can enroll in both, and utilize Medicare as supplementary insurance. It all depends upon the size of your employer, along with your personal preferences, so discuss this issue with your human resources department or an insurance agent familiar with Medicare.
The above rule also applies to those who are married, and whose spouse is still working and is covered by a group benefits plan.
There are two ways to enroll in Medicare. If you’ve already claimed your Social Security benefits, your enrollment in Medicare Parts A and B will be processed automatically when you turn 65. However, you still need to consult with an insurance agent if you’re interested in other forms of coverage, such as a MediGap plan, Medicare Advantage, or a prescription drug (Part D) plan.
If you’re not already drawing your Social Security benefits, you are responsible for enrolling Medicare. You can do this by visiting the Medicare website, but this isn’t always the best way to proceed. To learn more about all of the options available to you, and for personalized help in determining which plan(s) best fit your situation, work with a qualified insurance agent instead.
On that note, give us a call with your questions about Medicare. We can help you compare plans, learn the rules that apply to your situation, and select the options that work best for you.