Normally, you’ll be automatically enrolled when you reach the age of 65 and are already receiving retirement benefits from the Railroad Retirement Board or the Social Security Administration. You can also be automatically enrolled for this coverage if you’re not yet 65 but you’re disabled, have renal disease (end-stage) or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. You need to be a U.S citizen or be a legal permanent resident of no less than five consecutive years. If you’re automatically enrolled then you’ll receive your Medicare card in the mail 3 months before you turn 65 or on your 25th month of being on disability.
Apply for Medicare Part A
It’s mandatory for you to apply for Medicare part A and B coverage if you’re 65 and you’re still working or an employee of the state, as well as the local government, who was hired after 31st March 1986. This is according to the set rules of the Social Security Administration. Some exceptions do apply, and you can find them under the Social Security Act’s Section 210(p).
Apply for Medicare Part B
There is an enrollment period that lasts for seven months, and that’s the time you need to sign up for either plans or both of them. You can always register for the free Part A during or after the initial registration period. The coverage start date depends on the date you signed up.
If you don’t apply during your Medicare Part B enrollment when you were first eligible, you’ll pay a late enrollment penalty. You’ll need to pay that penalty as long as you’re still enrolled in Part B and there’s a probability that your health coverage will have a gap.
You Can Register for Part A and/or B Every Year During the Enrollment Period if:
- You did not register immediately when you turned 65
- You’re not eligible for the Special Enrollment Period
Once the initial registration period lapses, you might have another opportunity to sign up for Medicare. This is done during the Special Enrollment Period (SEP).
What if you don’t want to sign up for Medicare part B?
In case your Medicare has not started, you can drop Part B if:
- You were enrolled automatically in Part A and B and got the card; you can follow the written guidelines that came with the card to send the card back. If you keep your card, you’ll have held Part B and will pay the premiums.
What are the penalties for not signing up for Part A and Part B?
If you’re eligible for Part A Medicare and you don’t sign up in time, you can be penalized for late enrollment. Usually, the penalty is 10%, and it lasts twice the period or the delay. For instance, if you wait for three years before enrolling, you’ll pay the penalty for over six years of coverage.
Part B also attracts a 10% penalty for every year of enrollment delay. So, if you have a three-year delay, your penalty is 30%. This penalty continues throughout the coverage.
Medicare Part A Coverage Will Include:
- A few home health Services
- Inpatient hospital care
- Qualified nursing facility care
- Hospice care
If you’re a Medicare Part A beneficiary, your hospital expenses that are essential to the inpatient care will be covered. This includes meals, semi-private room, medications as long as they are part of the inpatient treatment, nursing services, etc.
Note that this plan doesn’t cover private duty nursing, private room costs (not unless it’s necessary medically), personal care items or extra charges like television and telephone. It also doesn’t cover blood costs.
What’s Medicare Part B?
This plan is a portion of Original Medicare that covers supplies and services needed medically to treat the health condition of the insured. This includes preventive services, outpatient care, durable medical equipment, and ambulance services. The coverage also extends to intermittent or part-time home rehabilitative and health services like physical therapy.
Any person who applies for Medicare Part A can also apply for Part B by registering and paying the monthly premiums. If you’re not qualified to apply for premium-free Part A of Medicare, you still can enroll for Part B as long as you meet the set requirements.
- Need to be 65 or older
- Must be a citizen of the United States or be a resident who is lawfully residing in the U.S for more than 5 consecutive years.
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