Medicare Eligibility: When Does It Happen?
US citizens meet Medicare eligibility age requirements when they turn 65 years old. Additionally, permanent US residents (non-citizens) can receive Medicare at 65 if they have lived in the country for a minimum of five years.
Some people qualify for Medicare before age 65 if they are disabled or have been diagnosed with certain health conditions.
When to Enroll in Medicare
Your initial enrollment period begins as your 65th birthday is approaching. If you already claim Social Security benefits, then you are automatically enrolled in Medicare on your birthday. This automatic enrollment covers Medicare Parts A & B. You will need to take proactive steps to enroll in Medicare Part C (Advantage) and/or Part D (Prescription).
If you aren’t already receiving Social Security benefits, you need to go through the application process as you are nearing your 65th birthday. You have an Initial Enrollment Period (IEP) that starts three months before your 65th birthday month and continues for 3 months after your birthday month. So, your IEP covers 7 months to give you time to enroll at your convenience.
Why Everyone Should Apply for Medicare at the Age of 65
Even if you aren’t claiming Social Security benefits yet and you aren’t sure if you need Medicare coverage at this time, it’s important that you move forward with the enrollment process during your IEP window. This is because waiting to sign up for medication means that you will have higher monthly premiums for the remainder of your life. However, there are a few rare situations where you can avoid the penalty fees while delaying enrollment.
Open Enrollment Periods for Medicare
What happens if you miss your enrollment period? Then you can sign up for the Original Medicare plan during general enrollment every year between January 1 and March 31. However, if you prefer a Medicare Advantage Plan (Part C) or would like to add on prescription coverage (Part D), you’ll need to wait for open enrollment in the fall.
Also, keep in mind that the fall Annual Enrollment Period (between October 15 and December 7) is the time that you can make changes to your Medicare coverage if desired.
Choosing the Right Medicare Coverage
At Active Medicare Solutions, we are here to help you find the ideal insurance options in this stage of life. Learn more about available benefits by calling us at (804) 874-6000.