Applying for Medicare can be a challenge especially if you’ve never done it before. That is why it is recommended that you get familiar with the process early before you reach the age of 65 as it will be your primary source of health insurance cover. One of the biggest challenges of applying for Medicare is that there is no one-size-fits-all coverage option. You may have to select a combination of options to find one that addresses your health condition. In order to minimize expenses and optimize coverage, there are some things that you need to be aware of before applying for Medicare.

Medicare Will Be Your Primary Insurer after Turning 65

There is a high chance that your employer has been paying for your medical insurance. If you turn 65, there is a high likelihood that Medicare is going to be your primary health insurance. This will be the case even if you’ve never applied for Medicare before. This should be an important consideration in mind as you may not be able to rely on other forms of insurance to pay for your physician or other medical bills. Those insurance companies will be considered your secondary option.

Apply Before 65

It is important that you apply for Medicare before your turn 65. There are stipulated enrollment periods that you can check out for as the information is easily accessible online. You’re also required to apply for Medicare within eight months of leaving your job. Failure to do so will mean that you have to wait for another year for the enrollment period to open. The enrollment period will end four months after your birthday if you’re 65 years old.

Choosing Your Plan

You need to make sure you’re choosing your plan wisely because there is very little room for errors. There is the option of choosing the original Medicare Part A or Medicare Advantage Plan. The type of Medicare option you go for will depend on individual health circumstances. There are also a couple of other factors to have in mind when choosing between the original Medicare plan and the  Medicare Advantage Plan.

With Traditional Medicare:

You have the option of seeing any doctor but you will have to check if the plan has any restrictions with regards to who you can see.
There is also a chance that you could experience out-of-pocket costs frequently.
You have the option of choosing the drug plan in your area

Penalties for Missing Enrollment

There are consequences for failing to enroll for Medicare on time. In case you miss the initial enrollment period, there is still the option of signing up for Medicare during the General period which is usually from January 1 to March 31. The penalties are applicable to those people who miss enrolling during the initial period. The penalties could be as high as 10% for every 12 months you delay enrollment or 1% every month.

Medicare has Four Main Components

If you’ve researching Medicare coverage, you’ve probably come across Part A, Part B, Part D, Medigap, Medical Advantage Plans, and Blue Cross Medicare Supplement plans.

Medicare Part A is all about hospital insurance. It will cover for hospital visits, home health, skilled nursing services, and hospice care.

Medicare Part B covers medical insurance. It encompasses preventive care, outpatient services, medical equipment, mental health care, and laboratory tests. You will have to pay a monthly premium for this type of coverage.

You May Automatically be Enrolled for Medically

You will be enrolled for Medicare automatically if you’re on social security. The automatic Medicare enrollment with be Part A and/or Part B when you reach the age of 65.

Details about Medicare Information

You may have to pay for the entire penalty if you did receive the right information from a government official. You can only contest if you can prove that the government official gave you incorrect information. Always note the details of the person you spoke to and the exact time and date. This should be done whenever you’re speaking about Medicare with someone from the government.

Starting the Application Process

It is a lengthy process applying for Medicare and that is why it is recommended that you start early. You should start researching about the process before you turn 64. This will give you ample time to prepare. A Medigap policy will supplement the Medicare plan as you might find out some things are not covered.