In this Q&A series, Medicare expert Christian Worstell answers your questions about Medicare coverage, benefits, eligibility, enrollment and more. Christian is a licensed insurance agent and frequent contributor to MedicareAdvantage.com.
"I lost my hearing at age 54 and qualified for Medicare because of my disability. I am now set to turn 65 next year. Will any of my Part A or Part B Medicare benefits change when I turn 65? And is there anything I will need to do?" – Donna R., Port St. Lucie, FL
Hi Donna and thanks for writing in with your question.
No, your Original Medicare (Part A and Part B) benefits will not change when you turn 65. All of the Part A and Part B coverage you have had for the last decade will stay as is.
What may change, however, are your options for private Medicare insurance, such as Medicare Advantage (Part C) plans, standalone Medicare Part D prescription drug plans or Medicare Supplement (Medigap) plans.
Only 10 states require insurance companies to sell Medigap plans to beneficiaries under 65 in 2020 (and your home state of Florida is not one of them).
Note: Medicare Advantage plans and Medicare Supplement plans aren’t the same thing. They work in very different ways, and you cannot have both types of coverage at the same time.
When you turn 65, you will be granted a Medigap Open Enrollment Period during which you can apply for a Medigap plan. This six-month period will begin once you turn 65 and are enrolled in Medicare Part B (which you already are).
During this period, insurance companies can’t use your medical history — like your hearing loss — as a reason to raise your premiums or deny your coverage completely. They must issue you a plan at the same rate as someone with no significant medical history.
If you did not sign up for any private Medicare insurance plans during your Initial Enrollment Period when you first qualified for Medicare because of your disability, you may have another opportunity to do so during the Annual Enrollment Period (AEP, also called the fall Medicare Open Enrollment Period), which takes place from October 15 to December 7 each year.
Learn more about the Medicare Advantage and Medicare Part D plan options that are available where you live by comparing plans online for free today. You can also get started comparing plans by calling to speak with a licensed insurance agent.
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