Medicare is a federal health insurance program for seniors aged 65 and older, and for certain younger people with specific health-related problems and disabilities. Medicare is also for people suffering from End-Stage Renal Disease. To be eligible for Medicare, you must meet one of the age or health condition caveats noted above, and be a legal resident of the United States for at least five years.
It is important to note that there are specific periods during which you can enroll in Medicare.
In order to acquire Medicare benefits, you must enroll once you are eligible during the Medicare Enrollment Periods. There are different windows for enrollment that allow newly eligible people to register for Medicare, while those with an existing Medicare plan can make changes to their current coverage.
The Initial Enrollment Period opens three months before turning 65 and ends three months after turning 65. If you miss the Initial Enrollment Period, you can still enroll during the Open Enrollment Period which begins on January 1 and ends on March 31. Lastly, there is also the Annual Enrollment Period, when you can make changes to Medicare plans.
If you miss your other opportunities to sign up for Medicare, you can enroll during the Annual Enrollment Period which starts October 15 and runs through December 7. If you already have Medicare, this is the period during which you can change plans, add coverage, or even drop options.
Medicare benefits and services consist of several different parts, each of which covers specified resources geared toward protecting individuals who qualify for it.
Original Medicare is separated into two distinct parts - Part A and Part B - while Medicare Part C, commonly referred to as Medicare Advantage is a combination of Part A and Part B with some additional provisions available. Medicare Part D is specific to prescription drug coverage and is available with approved Medicare plans.
And finally, there are also Medicare Supplement Plans built to accommodate a wider range of benefits and options. To learn more about each of these unique parts of Medicare and which parts may be the right option for you, click the links below: