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Qualifying for Medicare Soon?

Most of those reaching age 65 this year and those having received Social Security Disability Benefits for at least 24 months may qualify for Medicare benefits. There are always exceptions, but let’s skip those for the moment.

If you have been receiving Social Security Disability Income Benefits for at least 24 months, you will be enrolled in Medicare Parts A & B starting in month 25. However, even if you are enrolled in your state’s Medicaid program you may have out of pocket medical expenses to pay because Medicare does not cover all of your healthcare costs.

If you are not disabled and have been paying Medicare taxes during you working years you qualify (with exceptions) for entry into Medicare on the first day of your 65th birthday month. However, if your birthday falls on the first day of your 65th birthday month, you qualify for entry into Medicare on the first day of the month immediately preceding your birthday month.

Medicare Part A covers you as a hospital in-patient plus a couple other items. Medicare Part B provides coverage for medical expenses incurred while not an inpatient in a hospital…visits to doctors’ offices, lab tests, x-rays, etc., OTHER THAN outpatient prescription drugs. Those fall under Part D of Medicare.

In short, Medicare picks up a portion of a beneficiary’s healthcare and out-patient prescription drug costs, but not all of such. After Medicare pays its part of the bill, it is up the the Medicare beneficiary to pay the remaining balance.

Medicare is a far reaching piece of legislation going back to 1965, and I would not attempt to cover all the bases here. Instead, Medicare provides information via its web-site, www.medicare.gov, which, unlike healthcare.gov, actually works. To learn all you have always wished to know but were afraid to ask about Medicare, go to www.medicare.gov, and surf there to your heart’s content.

If you are within three months from your 65th birthday, you may enroll now in Medicare on line at medicare.gov…and you may still enroll there until three months after your 65th birthday month.

Each year I meet with many who are approaching Medicare eligibility, to remove its mystery for them. Do not agree to talk to anyone phoning you without your prior permission, or showing up on your door step to talk about Medicare. Those people are breaking Medicare’s rules and exposing their dishonesty to you. Insurance agents like me are not to contact you directly without your prior permission. Doing so could cost me a fine or result in loss of my license. Medicare rules are there to protect your privacy and to save you from being hounded by door to door peddlers. Instead, deal with a qualified agent certified by his/her state and insurance company to discuss Medicare insurance plans with you….while you’re at it, ask to see their license and certification form. If they can’t produce both, show them the door.

Carpe Diem