Medicare is a Federal health insurance program.  If you’re about to turn 65 years old or you qualify for Medicare another way, there are several steps you must follow to receive Medicare.  Please follow these steps so you don’t receive a penalty or have a gap in your coverage. You may also call an agent from for assistance.  

Step 1: The different parts of Medicare
There are several different parts of Medicare that a person going on Medicare should learn.   Each part helps cover specific health services. Medicare Part A (Hospital Insurance) covers hospital stays(inpatient), skilled nursing facility care, care for hospice, and minor home health care. Medicare Part B (Medical Insurance) covers a number of doctors' services, outpatient care services, medical supplies, and many preventive services.

Step 2: When can you get Medicare?
People can enroll in Medicare during certain circumstances. Some people get Medicare automatically, others need to apply for Medicare online or at the Social security office. Your Initial Enrollment Period is the period when you are able to enroll in Medicare for the first time.  Everyone has a 7-month Initial Enrollment Period that is:

  1. 3 months before the actual month you turn 65 years old
  2. Includes the actual month you turn 65 years old
  3. Is finished 3 months after the actual month you turn 65
  4. Click for an estimate of when you can initially enroll in Medicare.

If you don’t enroll in Medicare when you’re first eligible, you could pay a penalty known as the Part B late enrollment penalty.  If you want Part B at a later time, you may have a “gap” in coverage..

Step 3:Decide if you want Part A & Part B
Check with your Social Security office to see if you are automatically enrolled in Medicare Part A.  If you are 65 years old and have health insurance from an employer, check with the local SS office anyway to make sure your doing the right thing.  You won't pay a monthly premium for Part A if you worked enough hours and paid into Medicare taxes. You can choose to delay Part B if you don’t want or need the benefits right away. If you have credible health insurance coverage and your premium is low, you can choose to delay Medicare part B. The Part B premium varies depending on your income and when you choose to enroll. The majority of people in the U.S. will pay the standard premium of $134 in the year 2018.

Step 4: Choose your coverage
Once you decide you want to get Medicare Part A and Medicare Part B, you can choose a supplement pIan.  There are two main Medicare supplement plans you may purchase. One is Original Medicare (possibly with a Medicare Supplement Insurance (Medigap).) and the other is a Medicare Advantage Plan (2 most popular advantage plans are a PPO or HMO). Most people that are on Medicare Parts A and B will get an additional  Medicare prescription drug coverage. If you are working as an employee and your employer gives you health insurance coverage, you may not need any of these plans.  Learn about these coverage choices.

Step 5: Sign up for Medicare (unless you get it automatically)
Many people will automatically get Medicare Part A and Medicare Part B without applying. Find out if you’ll get Part A and B automatically. A  red, white, and blue Medicare card will be mailed to you 3 months before your 65th birthday or if your disabled, 25 months after the first day of disability status. You will need to apply for Medicare online or go to the nearest social security office if you do not receive it automatically.

Step 6: Learn 5 tasks for your first year with Medicare

Go to the State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP) website for personalized health insurance counseling.  This is free of cost to you.

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