Medicare open enrollment occurs from October 15 to December 7. During this time, you can change your Medicare coverage for the following year. You can also enroll in Medicare when you reach the age of 65. Whether you are signing up for the first time or changing your current plan, you will want to learn some important facts about enrolling in Medicare.
9. Qualifying for Medicare
You might be worried that you will not qualify for Medicare because you have not paid enough taxes during your work career. However, this is not true. Do not delay your enrollment past your personal deadline, or it could cost you later.
Payroll taxes were deducted from your payroll when you worked so that you can enroll in Part A after you turn 65. In such a situation, you will not pay any premiums if you contributed 40 credits (quarters), which is comparable to 10 years’ worth of work.
Medicare Part A will pay for any stay at a skilled nursing facility or hospital. It also includes some health services plus hospice care. If you are unsure of how many credits you have, then you can contact Social Security at 800-772-1213.
If you are signing up for Medicare Part B, then you do not need to have any credits. Part B covers doctor services, medical equipment, and outpatient care. Part D offers prescription drug coverage.
To qualify, you must meet the following criteria:
- Be a U.S. citizen
- Be 65 or older
- Have resided in the U.S. for five years or longer
You will need to pay the required monthly premium to qualify for Medicare Part B or Part D.
If you have not contributed enough to payroll taxes to enroll in Part A, then you might still qualify based on your spouse’s work record even if you are divorced or a widow/widower. If you have not been married, then you can pay $458 per month with 30 or fewer credits or $252 per month with 30 to 39 credits.
Some people do qualify for Medicare at a younger age if they have certain medical conditions or are disabled.
8. Enrolling in Medicare
If you are a Medicare newbie, then you can enroll at 65 years old if you do not have health coverage after the age of 65.
Do not wait to receive a letter telling you that it’s time to enroll in Medicare; the government will not send you a letter telling you this. The only time you will receive a letter is if you are already receiving Social Security benefits before 65.