You can sign up for Medicare during your seven-month Initial Enrollment Period (IEP), which begins three months before you turn 65, includes your birth month and continues for another three months.
Many people are automatically enrolled in Medicare once they qualify.
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In most cases, you have several ways to sign up for Original Medicare benefits.
If you’ve turned 65 and are already receiving Social Security benefits, the Social Security Administration will notify you if you’ve been automatically enrolled in Original Medicare.
If you’re 65 years or older and are a citizen or permanent resident of the U.S., you’re likely eligible for premium-free Medicare Part A (hospital insurance), assuming that you paid enough Medicare taxes (10 years worth) while working.
Medicare Part B (medical insurance) requires paying a premium, and you therefore have the option to decline coverage. However, if you decide later that you do want Medicare Part B, you may have to pay a penalty for as long as you have it.
You may also be eligible to sign up during a Special Enrollment Period if you are eligible.
If you don’t sign up during your Initial Enrollment Period and don’t qualify for special enrollment, you can sign up for either Medicare Part A or Part B during a General Enrollment Period, which runs each year from January 1 to March 31.
Keep in mind your coverage won’t begin until July 1 of that year, and you may be subject to late enrollment penalties if you wait too long.
Medicare Part D prescription drug plans can cover many retail prescription drugs, which Original Medicare (Part A and Part B) doesn't typically cover.
You can enroll in a Medicare Part D plan during your Initial Enrollment Period. If you don't sigh up for Medicare prescription drug coverage when you're first eligible, you could potentially pay a late enrollment fee if you decide to enroll in a plan later on.
You can compare Part D plans available where you live and enroll in a Medicare prescription drug plan online in as little as 10 minutes when you visit MyRxPlans.com.1
Medicare Advantage is an alternative to Original Medicare. It allows you to receive Medicare benefits from a private insurance company.
Many Medicare Advantage plans also provide additional benefits such as dental, vision and prescription drug coverage.
You can enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan during your IEP or during the fall Open Enrollment Period, which occurs October 15 to December 7 each year.
To learn more about Medicare Advantage, or to get a free quote, call to speak with a licensed insurance agent today.
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Christian Worstell is a senior Medicare and health insurance writer with MedicareAdvantage.com. He is also a licensed health insurance agent. Christian is well-known in the insurance industry for the thousands of educational articles he’s written, helping Americans better understand their health insurance and Medicare coverage.
Christian’s work as a Medicare expert has appeared in several top-tier and trade news outlets including Forbes, MarketWatch, WebMD and Yahoo! Finance.
Christian has written hundreds of articles for MedicareAvantage.com that teach Medicare beneficiaries the best practices for navigating Medicare. His articles are read by thousands of older Americans each month. By better understanding their health care coverage, readers may hopefully learn how to limit their out-of-pocket Medicare spending and access quality medical care.
Christian’s passion for his role stems from his desire to make a difference in the senior community. He strongly believes that the more beneficiaries know about their Medicare coverage, the better their overall health and wellness is as a result.
A current resident of Raleigh, Christian is a graduate of Shippensburg University with a bachelor’s degree in journalism.
If you’re a member of the media looking to connect with Christian, please don’t hesitate to email our public relations team at Mike@tzhealthmedia.com.