If your like most people turning 65 it can be confusing just thinking about what you have to do to sign up, let alone if you qualify for Medicare. You may go through the process of signing up, only to find out that you don’t qualify, wasting a lot of time and energy, and maybe using an extra blood pressure pill.
I’ll be sharing , within the next few postings, some basics of Medicare and a few common mistakes people make when signing up.
First of all, Do I qualify?
Most people assume if they don’t qualify for Social Security (which is having a working history of approximately 10 years) that they don’t qualify for Medicare. While this is true in most cases, there are always exceptions to the rule. You may qualify based on your spouses work record. Then there’s always that option to pay for your Medicare part A premium. Part A is free for those that do qualify. Although I don’t like to think of it as free, seeing that we’ve paid for it most of our working lives. To be on the safe side visit with your Social Security office 3 months before you turn 65, or before another 3 months have past from turning 65.
One reason you don’t have to sign up would be if your 65, but you or your spouse are still working, and you have health coverage through that employer, and your employer has more than 20 employees. Other than that exception, as I stated before and just to reiterate, you have 7 months to sign up, 3 months before you turn 65, the month you turn 65, and 3 months after you turn 65.
Another reason you can qualify for Medicare, and not yet 65 is if you are disabled. You have to be disabled for a minimum of 24 months in order to qualify for Medicare. Your Social Security office can fill you in on more details about how your disability qualifies you.
Part A of Medicare
As I mentioned before Part A there is no premium if you qualify, and Part A of Medicare is the portion of Medicare that covers your hospital services, being an inpatient in a semi-private room, general nursing services and miscellaneous hospital services. It also covers up to 20 days in a skilled nursing facility, but you must meet the requirement of a 3 day hospital stay and in a Medicare approved facility. There is also a $1316 deductible with part A. If you have a Medicare supplement chances are they will cover this. Medicare supplements and Medicare Advantage plans are something we’ll cover in a future post. I think it’s a good idea to understand the mechanics of Medicare with all it’s parts, to better understand what we need to fill in those gaps. I guess that’s why a supplement is also known by it’s other name too, Medigap insurance.
I don’t want to overload people with so much information that it gets to confusing, so I will cover a little more on the next posting. I think it’s easier to understand a little at a time, it is for me anyway. I will get into qualifying for Medicare Part B and explain what the coverages are for Part B on the next posting.
—Dave Obregon | 888-355-1599