Applying for Medicare

2014 Medicare and Medigap Updates

Applying for Medicare

Medicare is the national health insurer offering medical and health insurance coverage for all senior citizens of the United States once they reach 65. Medicare is notable for covering most of the medically necessary services. However, a number of services are not covered by Medicare. Instead, they are covered under the Medicare supplement plans, otherwise known as Medigap plans. When applying for Medicare, you will need to evaluate all the different plans to check whether they will fully cover all the services that you might need when you retire. If not, you may also want to check the different Medigap plans.

The first thing that you should be aware of when applying for Medicare is the eligibility requirements that you will need to meet to successfully enroll for Medicare. Any individual who reaches the age of 65 is eligible for Medicare that has worked and paid into the system. While there are four parts of Medicare available for enrollment when applying, the first two Parts A and B are the most crucial to many individuals.

When applying for Medicare, one can enroll for Part A. Part A, otherwise known as Hospital insurance covers hospice care, skilled nursing care as well as hospital and home care. Typically, one does not pay premiums for Part A as they have been paying Medical taxes throughout their employment. However, if you have not been paying medicare taxes, you will have to pay a premium in order to receive Part A benefits.

When it comes to part B, commonly referred to as Medical insurance, one has the option to enroll only for Part A and choose to apply for part B later. Part B covers outpatient care and other medical services not covered by part A. However, by choosing to enroll at a later period for Part B, you may have to pay higher monthly periods for part B benefits. In some cases, it has been known to increase by 10%. If you choose to apply for part B at a date other than the open enrollment date, you can do so at the General Enrollment Period. This period runs for the first three months of each year.

There are special exceptions to the age limit when applying for Medicare. Such exceptions include kidney dialysis or transplant patients or an individual receiving disability benefits from the Social Security Board for at least 24 months. Such individuals can apply for Medicare when they are under 65 and receive Part A benefits.

Though applying for Medicare is usually done at age 65 for most, the official retirement age is 66 for others and if you fall in this category you might want to file only for medicare and at a later date file for your retirement benefits. In this way, you will be able to get your full retirement benefits rather than a smaller percentage.