Medicare enrollment is streamlined enough that most people can do it without any assistance. You may not know what add-on plans you want or if Medicare’s basic coverage will be enough for you, but you can sign up for that basic plan fairly easily. We are going to show you how to apply for Medicare and how you can get the kind of coverage you need to afford your medical expenses.
When to Apply
You can start applying just before you turn 65. You are able to sign up as early as three months before you turn 65. This is when the official enrollment period begins. If you want to sign up before then, you will have to meet special requirements. Your enrollment period lasts from three months before you turn 65 to three months after you turn.
You can also apply during the general enrollment period. This takes place from January 1st to March 31st. Open Enrollment is another option, which comes around every year around the end of the year. This is usually for people who want to sign up for additional coverage to Medicare from private insurance companies. It lasts for about two months from November through December, and the dates change slightly from one year to the next, so make sure you look up those dates before you try to apply.
If you missed your application period, you can simply wait until the next one comes around. In some cases, you may be able to apply all year long, depending in on your circumstances. You do not have to wait until you retire or are ready to retire to sign up for Medicare. It is available to anyone who is 65-years or older and living in the United States.
We spoke about special requirements before, and if you meet them, then you can sign up before you become a senior. This generally applies to people who have end stage renal disease or some type of disability. If your financial situation is strained, then you may want to apply for Medicaid instead of Medicare.
Where to Apply
You have two general ways to apply for Original or basic Medicare. That is either through their website online or over the phone. Either way, the application process is simple and short. You simply answer a few basic questions about yourself, and then the Medicare employees do all the rest of the work. Most people complete the application for in about 10 minutes, and once the do, Medicare will use that information to find out more about them and determine if they qualify. Medicare’s emplyees will verify your age and Social Security number and simply make sure that you meet the very basic requirements for Medicare eligibility. If they have any further questions to ask you, they will contact you later.
If you are unsure of how to apply for Medicare, then you should take heart in knowing that most of the people who apply do receive approval. There is nothing to it, really, and once you complete the application form, you just sit back and wait for a reply. Usually, you will receive a reply within a few weeks. If you have been approved, a Medicare ID card will be sent to you in the mail.
It doesn’t really matter which method you use to apply for Medicare. You still have to go through the same relatively simple process. If you want to find out about your eligibility status or just have general questions about Medicare, then you can always contact a Medicare insurance agent. Even if you have not yet been approved for membership, they will still be glad to answer your questions and help you out.
What You Are Applying for
You should know not just how you go about applying for Medicare but also what kind of coverage you would receive and what you can sign up for. If you are going through Medicare directly, then you have two basic options- Medicare Part A and Part B. Usually, these two will be sold together in a bundle, but you can separate them if you like and only sign up for Part A. You won’t be able to sign up for Part B alone. Part A takes care of your inpatient expenses, in general, while Part B takes care of outpatient costs.
You are allowed to reject Part B since it comes with a deductible you have to pay every year. This deductible is usually $183, but you can have that covered or decreased depending on what kind of coverage you go for and what your situation is.
You have to pay a premium on Medicare’s plan as well, plus copayments for every visit to the doctor’s office or hospital. If you sign up for an additional coverage plan, then you may have to pay the premiums on those as well.
Once you have signed up for Medicare, you can apply for other plans as well. Most of those are only available during Open Enrolment, which we already discussed. Not all of them will be compatible with one another or with other plans you may have. If you have a medical plan not from Medicare, then you may have to drop it in order to sign up for Medicare. It is up to you to ensure that your coverage does not overlap, since Medicare will not allow that to happen.
Pay attention to the plans you have and the plans you are intending to sign up for to ensure that they do not overlap in any way. Also ensure that they cover you adequately. You don’t want to get locked into a contract for a plan and then realize later, after you cannot change the plan, that you chose the wrong one. Be sure you choose carefully and get a plan that will work well for you- not just now but in the near future as well. Hopefully, now you understand how to apply for Medicare and what kinds restrictions are placed on applying.