1. Don’t Miss your Set Enrollment Period
Your Medicare Initial Enrollment Period is a 7 month long time frame in which you can enroll into Medicare Part A and/or Part B when you turn 65.
Your Initial Enrollment Period includes:
- The 3 months prior you’re the month you turn 65
- The month you turn 65
- And 3 months after the month you turn 65
2. Enrollment Is Not Always Automatic
Whether or not you will need to submit an application to start your Medicare benefits or if you if you are set to be automatically enrolled will depend on your Social Security.
- Enrollment is Automatic if you are receiving Social Security Benefits on or prior to your 65th Birthday.
- Manual Enrollment for Medicare is required if you have decided to delay your social security benefits until after your 65 birthday.
3. You Can Delay Your Medicare Coverage
Most people will receive Medicare Part A (Hospital Insurance) for free because they or their spouse worked and paid taxes. Medicare Part B (Medical Insurance) on the other hand has a monthly premium associated with it and may be delayed if you have credible coverage through an employer or union.
If you plan to continue with your credible group coverage you may want to delay your Part B benefits in order to avoid paying the additional premium while you have other health insurance coverage. If you choose to delay your benefits you will be given a Special Enrollment Period to enroll in Medicare Part B when you leave your group coverage in the future.
Note: If your employer has under 20 employees on your group insurance plan you may be required to join Medicare when turning 65. Plan ahead and verify with your current health insurance company as to whether or not they will require you to join Medicare.
4. Select Your Path On Medicare
When you enroll in Medicare you will have a choice of how to receive your Medicare benefits.
Option #1: Medicare Supplement Plan with Original Medicare (Parts A & B)
When selecting original Medicare you will be able to go to any doctor or hospital in the country that accepts Medicare. Benefits are administered by Medicare directly and you have full access to Medicare benefits without restrictions such as Networks or Referrals. When selecting original Medicare most people elect to take a Medicare Supplement (Medigap) plan to cover the gaps in Medicare as well as a Part D drug plan to cover their prescriptions (and avoid any penalties).
Option #2: Medicare Advantage (also known as Part C of Medicare)
Medicare Advantage plans are a partnership between Medicare and private insurance companies where the approved plan that you choose will administer all of your Medicare benefits on behalf of Medicare and may include additional benefits such as drug coverage, dental, and vision. Although all Medicare Advantage (Part C) Plans much provide benefits at least equal to Original Medicare, they usually require the use of networks, referrals, and other restrictions.
5. Medicare Doesn’t Cover Everything
Just like health insurance during your working years, Medicare doesn’t cover all Medical services. When enrolling in Medicare it is a good idea to review the services that Medicare doesn’t cover such as Long Term Care, most dental services (such as routine cleanings and fillings), and alternative medicine.
These 5 tips will help you stay on top of your Medicare enrollment process but do not cover all the possible enrollment scenarios. Our advice to a smooth transition onto Medicare is to beginning planning early and don’t be afraid to ask an expert to help!