- You are age 65 or older, have a qualifying disability or experience another special situation.
- You are a U.S. citizen or legal resident (for at least five consecutive years).
You have two Medicare options
There are two distinct ways to receive Medicare:
However, within these two options you have many choices – prescription drug coverage (Part D), supplemental coverage and more. To decide which is right for you takes time and a little homework.
Timing is crucial
You can sign up for Original Medicare or a Medicare Advantage plan three months before you turn 65, your birthday month and three months after. If you have a qualifying disability, contact the Social Security Administration (1-800-772-1213, TTY 1-800-325-0778, Monday – Friday, 7:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m.) for your enrollment timeframe. If you wait, you could pay more for coverage. If you continue to work, additional rules may apply.
Medicare doesn’t cover everything
It’s important to know that Medicare doesn’t cover all of your health care expenses. You may have copays, deductibles, coinsurances and other payments for both Original Medicare and a Medicare Advantage plan. Also, Original Medicare does not include prescription Part D drug coverage, and there will be other gaps in coverage that you may need to cover with additional insurance.
Your plan choices are not permanent
If your needs change, you have an opportunity each year to change plans. (If you have enrolled in a group plan and you leave, most groups will not allow you to rejoin the plan.)