If you’re approaching retirement age or have been recently diagnosed with a disability, you may be considering applying for Medicare benefits. Applying for Medicare is easy, but there are some things you need to know when applying. Here’s how to apply for Medicare.
When To Apply For Medicare
You can only apply for Medicare at certain times of the year. These timeframes are called enrollment periods. There are several Medicare enrollment periods that occur throughout different times of the year. They are as follows:
- General Enrollment – January 1 – March 31 every year
- Open Enrollment – October 15 – December 7 every year
There are also other enrollment periods that only apply under certain circumstances. The Initial Enrollment Period, for example, begins 3 months before your 65th birthday, includes your 65th birth month, and the following three months. During this period, you can easily enroll in any Medicare program. Special Enrollment Periods also exist. During these periods, you can enroll in Medicare without being subject to late enrollment penalties. Special Enrollment Periods are only available to some applicants. Check with an insurance agent to determine if you are eligible for a Special Enrollment Period
In order to be eligible for Medicare, you must meet a few select criteria. People who are above age 65 and U.S. citizens or legal residents are eligible to apply for Medicare. If you are below age 65, you may qualify for Medicare based on a disability. In order to qualify via a disability, you must collect Social Security Disability Insurance for at least 24 months. At that point, you can contact Medicare to enroll or you may be automatically enrolled depending on your tax payment status.
You can also automatically qualify for Medicare if you are diagnosed with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis or End-Stage Renal Disease. If your diagnosis is ALS, you can enroll in Medicare after receiving Social Security Disability Insurance for at least one month. People with End-Stage Renal Disease can enroll immediately upon verifying their diagnosis.
Shop For Medicare Plans
While Original Medicare consists of a standardized policy program, there are alternatives available in the Medicare marketplace. Medicare Advantage plans are privately sold plans that are offered by insurance companies that have contracted with the Medicare agency to provide Part A and B benefits. Advantage plans may offer you unique benefits that would otherwise be unavailable with Original Medicare. Before settling on Original Medicare, determine if an Advantage plan fits your health care needs.
Shop Medicare Plans
Finding Medicare plans is much easier with the help of an insurance agent. Contact the experts at Trusted Senior Specialists to get help shopping for Medicare coverage. Our team is ready for your call, reach out to us now to schedule a consultation.