Make a Smooth Move to Medicare. Here’s How

Medicare offers necessary coverage to millions of Americans – and enrolling for it can seem scary and confusing. However, going through the enrollment process doesn’t have to be a nightmare. Health insurance, drug coverage, and medical bills all have a place in the world of Medicare. Learn how to make the transition from private health insurance provider to Medicare coverage painless and maybe even smooth.

Know when To Sign Up

The 7-month Initial Enrollment Period (IEP) gives enough time to research coverage options and pick a plan that works. This 7-month period starts three months before one’s 65th birthday. The best time to sign up for Medicare is within the first three months of the IEP. This will ensure the coverage begins the day one turns 65. If an individual signs up later in the IEP, they might not be covered on their birthday.

Check for Automatic Enrollment

If one is presently receiving benefits from Social Security or Railroad Retirement Board, they can automatically be enrolled in Original Medicare (Parts A & B). Medicare will send a Medicare card. This is also applicable if one qualifies for Medicare as a result of age or disability. The coverage kicks in on the first day of an individual’s 65th birthday month or the month of their 25th disability check.

Delay Part B of Medicare

Postponing Part B and delaying paying the premium is possible if one has other creditable coverage. If one has been working past 65 years of age and has health insurance sponsored by their employer and their employer has at least 20 employees, delaying part B is acceptable. Another scenario is when one has employer coverage from a spouse’s employer, and that employer has at least 20 employees and permits covered-dependents to defer Medicare enrollment.

One needs to determine if they have creditable coverage and ask for written proof of drug coverage to ensure they are eligible for a Special Enrollment Period, which offers an opportunity to apply for Part B without penalty if one continues to work.

Select a Plan with Benefits One Requires

Once one has signed up for Parts A & B of Medicare, it’s time to pick a kind of coverage for their needs. Parts A & B cover hospital and medical expenses, respectively, but they do not provide the basics like prescription drugs or routine dental care.