What You Need to Know to Sign Up for Medicare
Nearly 64 million Americans are currently covered by Medicare, and funding for the program accounted for more than 4% of the U.S. gross domestic product in 2020. Every day the growing population of baby boomers is turning 65. When you turn 65 you are eligible for Medicare, a term that is commonly called “aging into Medicare”. If this is or will soon, be you or someone you know, here is our top 6 things you need to know to sign up for Medicare.
1. Do I Need to Sign Up for Medicare if I am Still Working?
You may want to sign up for Medicare when you turn 65, even if you are still working. Doing so could save you time and money in the future. There are penalties for not signing up for Medicare when you become eligible. Be sure to talk with your Bancorp Agent about your options so you do not face any of these penalties based on your retirement plans.
2. Understand the Parts of Medicare
Medicare has three parts. Part A is coverage for hospitalization and related hospital charges. Part B is for Medical Visits. Part D is for Prescription Drug coverage. Click here to explore the parts of Medicare.
3. How to Actually Sign Up for Medicare
To receive Medicare benefits, you must enroll during an eligible Medicare Enrollment Period. There are four main ways to become eligible for Medicare enrollment where you can enroll for the first time or review and modify your existing plan. Let’s explore the ways.
The Initial Enrollment Period
The Initial Medicare enrollment period is also called, Aging into Medicare. This period is runs three months prior to your 65th birthday, the month of your birthday and the three months after your birthday.
This is the best time to enroll in Medicare as you will avoid penalties that can be applied if you wait and enroll even six months or a year later.
During initial Medicare enrollment you can schedule a time with your Medicare agent at Bancorp and explore the various benefits and parts of Medicare to help you select the right plan for your needs and budget for the next year.
Note: If you are already receiving social security disability benefits, you will be automatically enrolled in Medicare after being disabled for 24 months. You are still eligible to switch plans on your Initial Enrollment Period or 65th birthday with no underwriting.
The Annual Enrollment Period
The Medicare Annual Enrollment Period occurs annually from October 15th through December 7th. During this time, you can either enroll in original Medicare for the first time or you can modify or change your existing Medicare plan(s).
It’s a good idea to schedule an annual review with your Bancorp Medicare Agent as plans and your needs can change annually. There is no out-of-pocket cost to you for the annual review or any requested changes.
If you are new to the area or just looking for a new Medicare Agent, you are always welcome at Bancorp.
General & Special Enrollment Periods
The General Enrollment Period is for who did not enroll during the Initial Enrollment Period. The General Enrollment Period runs January 1st through March 31st annually. If you enroll during this time, your coverage will not be active until July 1st of that year.
The Special Enrollment Period is for those who have moved outside of the service area that they are currently enrolled in, or if the plan provider stops the plan. If you are eligible for either of those special circumstances then you are allowed to sign up for Medicare or choose a new Medicare Advantage, Supplemental or Prescription Drug Plan.
4. Explore Options for the Gaps in Medicare
Medicare has gaps, you can save a lot of money if you buy a Medicare Supplement Policy or Medicare Advantage Plan when you turn 65. You have a 7-month window, 3 months before your 65th birthday, the month of your birthday, and 3 months after your 65th birthday to enroll.
Note: There are many Medicare Plans available. Some counties offer low or even $0 plans. These plans also can change annually. It’s a good idea to speak with a Bancorp Medicare Agent when considering a Medicare Supplement to see what plans would be the best fit for you.
5. Understand Your Rights During the Medicare Annual Enrollment Period
During the Medicare Annual Enrollment Period, you can make changes to your Medicare Advantage Plan and Prescription Drug Plan. While these changes are not required — they can save you money. Both, with the upfront out-of-pocket for the plan as well as the out-of-pocket expenses throughout the year.
During AEP you can:
- Switch from Medicare Advantage back to Original Medicare
- Disenroll from Original Medicare and enroll in Medicare Advantage
- Change from one Medicare Advantage plan to another
- Change or sign up for a Part D plan
6. Ask for Help!
Not sure what you need to do? This is what our agents are here for. You can request an in person, virtual or phone appointment on a day or time that works for you to discuss your needs.
Bancorp’s insurance agents are available to provide you with a free review and consultation. Contact Us – Bancorp Insurance Call 800-452-6826
Disclaimer: This content is provided for general information purposes and is not intended to be used in place of consultation with our agents.