Medicare Eligibility: When does Medicare coverage start?

People who have worked all their life (retirees) are usually the ones qualifying for Medicare coverage. Although anyone, regardless of their age structure, can qualify for Medicare coverage. However, the Medicare eligibility criteria come with certain limitations.

Besides aging adults, anyone with special medical needs and existing chronic conditions is entitled to Medicare benefits.

However, many people remain skeptical regarding how soon does Medicare start after applying?

Certainly, Medicare eligibility criteria is a bit complex as some people automatically sign up for Medicare, while others need to sign up to avail of Medicare coverage.

Even the most pressing query that people often inquire about Medicare is – Do I automatically get Medicare when I turn 65 or do I need to sign up for it?

Well, Medicare coverage generally applies to anyone who’s approaching 65 or has turned 65 shortly. However, one can also be eligible for Medicare sooner.

Medicare involves both free and premium aspects. You can pick out from the assortment of programs as per your choice and convenience.

What comes next after qualifying for Medicare coverage?

Once you’re clear on when does Medicare coverage starts, get onto the next aspects of Medicare.

Basically, when Medicare starts, you’re given seven months around your actual birth date to choose a plan of your choice. You can sign up either for Part A or Part B or even both.

However, if your coverage starts at 65, you get the perk of signing up for the parts of your choice three months before turning 65 that lasts up to three months after you turn 65.

The feasibility of signing up three months before turning 65 avert all the chances of interruption in the coverage.

Although Medicare coverage keeps the burden of penalties at bay, however, if one doesn’t sign up for Medicare Part A or B after qualifying for Medicare coverage, they have to submit a late registration penalty.

Enrolling late for any of the plans eventually costs a higher premium fee that keeps adding to the total cost of Medicare.

Am I eligible for Medicare coverage if I am under 65 and have existing chronic conditions?

Though Medicare eligibility criterion is strict and rigorous, still people under 65 can qualify for coverage if they meet specific conditions.

People with chronic kidney disease (CKD) can sign up for Medicare coverage for the dialysis procedures.

Anyone who is registered for disability benefits from Social Security automatically becomes eligible for Medicare upon completing two years of registration with Social Security.

Persons with Lou Gehrig’s disease also meets the eligibility criteria of Medicare. People with this medical condition automatically sign up for the coverage right after being diagnosed with Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).

What is the simplest way to sign up for Medicare?

Even though now you know when does Medicare coverage starts but are you sure about your Medicare enrolment? If not, know that the entire process is automated only if you’re registered with the Social Security Administration.

However, if you’re not enrolled with the Social Security Administration, you can sign up by visiting the official Social Security site. You can even register through the phone or apply at your nearest Social Security office.

The process is extremely straightforward and takes no longer than 5 minutes.

How can I qualify for special enrollment periods (SEP)?

In case you or your spouse are insured by a group health insurance program, you can qualify for special enrollment periods. Besides, if your employment or coverage comes to an end, you can avail of SEP for a total period of 8 months.

Also, if you use the special enrolment period to apply for Medicare, the activation of the coverage expedites. For instance, when your registration request gets the approval, your coverage begins the same day or from the first day of the coming month. However, the activation of Medicare coverage chiefly depends on the situation, which varies from one to another.

Also, there are no late fee charges while enrolling using SEP.

What are the open enrollment periods?

January 1 to March 31 is the period generally known as the open enrollment period. In this period, one can easily switch between plans. Though open enrollment periods allow you to shift through plans, still in this sort of enrollment, penalties apply.

The open enrollment periods offer people the freedom to pick out a plan that accommodates their needs. The facility allows sick people to pick a different Medicare plan or go back to the original one.

Since switching through plans involve heavy penalties, it’s crucial to stay mindful while making Medicare choices.

Furthermore, the open enrollment period policy isn’t applicable for people with Original Medicare.