You must be wondering, “when does Medicare start.” Well, the answer is different depending on the situation.
For most people, they take Medicare upon turning 65 and choosing to retire. Some people delay enrollment and remain on an employer plan.
Others may take premium-free Part A and delay Medicare. There may be some who take Medicare and delay retirement.
Also, if someone is on Social Security Disability for 24 months, they qualify for Medicare. Further, those with a diagnosis of End-Stage Renal Disease will get automatic Medicare with a diagnosis.
When Medicare starts is different for each person. Some people need to take federal health insurance, while others find it convenient to delay enrollment until retirement.
Your neighbor’s retirement plan probably isn’t the best retirement plan for you, consider all your options.
What Age Does Medicare Start
People with disabilities, ALS, or End-Stage Renal Disease may be eligible for Medicare before they’re 65. If you qualify for Medicare because of a disability, there is no minimum age for receiving benefits.
However, Most beneficiaries get Medicare at age 65.
Some people wait until full retirement age to start collecting benefits. For some, that could be 66 years old; for others, waiting until 70 to get delayed retirement credits may be the most beneficial retirement plan.
No matter what your plan is, you NEED to plan.
For those that choose to enroll at age 65, benefits start on the first day of the month you turn 65. For example, if you turn 65 on June 30th, your coverage begins on June 1st.
You can get Medicare at age 65 even if you’re not collecting Social Security. So, you can keep working and take your Medicare if that’s the path you want to choose.
There are many options, and working with an agent can make choosing easier.
When Do You Have to Apply for Medicare
For most people, it’s best to enroll during your seven-month Initial Enrollment Period. Begining three months before you turn 65. It includes your birth month, and it ends three months after your birth month.
If you want your benefits to start at the beginning of the month, you turn 65, be sure to sign up at least a month before your birthday. You can also enroll in Part D prescription coverage or a Medicare Advantage plan at this time.
Those that don’t sign up for Part B during the initial enrollment period may pay a late enrollment penalty. You’ll pay the penalty every month for the rest of your life for as long as you have coverage.
Some people can delay enrollment without owing a penalty.
For example, you work for a large employer, and the health plan is creditable coverage. In this scenario, delaying enrollment could make sense, especially if the coverage is better than Medicare.
Although, group coverage better than Medicare isn’t the typical scenario.
Many people work for small employers; when this is your situation, Medicare is primary. So, if you don’t have Medicare, and you only have the group plan, the employer plan won’t pay until your Medicare is active.
Further, COBRA is NOT creditable coverage for Medicare. When you delay Part B without creditable coverage, a late enrollment penalty could be coming your way.
Even those with TRICARE need to enroll in Medicare to keep their benefits. However, if you have TRICARE, it’s unlikely you’ll benefit from extra Medicare coverage.
You can enroll online, by phone, or by visiting your local Social Security office. Once enrollment is complete, you’ll receive a red, white, and blue Medicare card in the mail.
Automatic Medicare Enrollment
You should get your Medicare card three months before your 65th birthday. It’s important to know that Parts A and B are the ONLY Medicare coverage that starts automatically.
You must separately enroll in:
- a Part D prescription drug plan
- Supplement Plan
- Medicare Advantage plan
- or vision, dental or hearing coverage
Those getting Social Security disability benefits have automatic enrollment in Medicare. If you don’t have Social Security, Part A, and B won’t start automatically—you need to sign up.
When Does Medicare Coverage Start
For most, Medicare coverage starts on the first day of your 65th birthday month. So, if you turn 65 on March 15, then Medicare can begin as soon as March 1st.
The best part, you can enroll up to 3 months before you even turn 65. Planning your retirement will give you peace of mind.
Once you have an official Medicare Beneficiary Identifier, you can start considering and pricing additional coverage. Then, your Medigap or Advantage plan can begin the same day as your Medicare.
Planning your retirement can make transitioning to Medicare easier.
When Does Medicare Advantage Coverage Start
The date your Medicare Advantage plan starts depends on the enrollment period and your eligibility. For those turning 65 and enrolling in Medicare, they can select an advantage plan 3-month before the effective date.
When you pre-enroll in your plan, you save yourself from scrambling. Medicare is one thing you don’t want to procrastinate.
Qualifying for a Special Enrollment Period could give you various coverage start dates.
Many people change plans during the Annual Enrollment Period from October 15th – December 7th; if you make a change during this period, your policy will begin January 1st of the following year.
When to Start a Medicare Supplement Plan
Medigap is extra insurance that fills in the gaps in Medicare. Medigap plans can pay for more extended hospital stays.
Your one-time Open Enrollment Period for Medigap starts on the 1st day of the month you’re 65 years old and have Part B.
Signing up for Medigap during Open Enrollment means you get Guarantee Issue rights; so, the insurance company CAN’T charge you more or deny you coverage.
If you wait and sign up, you can be turned down or charged more because of your health.
At Medicare FAQ, we help you understand your options and find the coverage that’s best for you. To get started with a free quote, fill out a rate comparison form, or give us a call at the number above.