As you grow old, there is every tendency that your health deteriorates. This can be due to many factors including the situation and things you have been exposed to earlier in your lifetime. Bones become weak, organs weary and muscles may have reached their elastic limits, thus they refuse further stress and stretches. At this time, your body needs more treatment and medical care like never before. This is a time many diseases begin to show up among the aged. The body is now so robbed of its immunity that it couldn’t conveniently fight or resist health concerns like in the past anymore without support from medical treatments. From blindness to high blood pressure, diabetes and chronic body strains, the list is an endless one. This is why Medicare has been structured to take special care of your health concerns at this stage of your life.

What is Medicare?

Medicare is a federal health insurance program for Americans aged 65 and above. It is also meant for certain younger citizens with disabilities. Other categories of individuals that could well enjoy Medicare services are those diagnosed with End-Stage Renal Disease (a permanent kidney failure where dialysis or transplant is required for correction). Medicare is structured to come in parts, each of which covers specific services and health situations.

Getting Started with Medicare

It is absolutely nothing difficult to get started with Medicare. Whether you are new to it, getting ready to turn 65 or preparing to retire from service, it is one of those important decisions you have to make to cover for your health in case of crucial needs. If it takes you longer than necessary to enroll, you may have to pay a penalty, and you may have some gap in its eventual coverage. Whichever way, finding your eligibility or enrolling is not a difficult one if the following steps could be duly followed.

Step 1: Learn about the specific Medicare parts

Medicare Part A: Also known as the hospital insurance, it covers for impatient hospital stays, some health care and care in a skilled nursing facility.

Learn more about Medicare Part A here!

Medicare Part B: This is alternatively called the Medical insurance and it covers certain doctors’ services, medical supplies, preventive services and outpatient cares.

Learn more about Medicare Part B here!

Medicare Part C: This part is alternatively called the Medicare advantage plan. It is the type of Medicare health plan offered by private investments that agrees with Medicare. This plan provides all part A and part B Medicare benefits. The part include Health maintenance organizations, preferred provider organizations, special needs plan, Medicare medical saving account plans and some others. If you are enrolled in this plan, even most of the Medicare services not paid for by original Medicare are covered through it.

Learn more about Medicare Part C here!

Medicare Part D: It is alternatively called the prescription drug coverage, and what it basically does is add prescriptive drug coverage to original Medicare, some Medicare private-fee-for service plans and Medicare medical savings account plans. All these plans are offered by insurance companies and other private investments that are duly approved under the Medicare services.

Learn more about Medicare Part D here!

Step 2: Know when you can get Medicare

You cannot just enroll for Medicare at any stage of your life. There are certain time to do this depending on the situation you find yourself. Some people may access Medicare automatically and others may need to apply for it. Your first enrollment is referred to as the Initial enrollment period (7 months). This usually begins at exactly three months before the month you will turn 65 years of age, runs through the time and ends exactly three months after it. Enrolling later than expected may attract penalty and gap in Medicare coverage.

Step 3: Decide what part you want and enroll

Having familiarized yourself with the specific parts of Medicare plans, decide on which of them exactly you want to enroll in and choose your coverage. Ordinarily, most people should enroll in Medicare Part A at 65 even when they hold a health insurance from an employer. Most people paid taxes when they worked and therefore need no premium to enroll in Medicare Part A. Choosing your coverage means that you have to decide whether you want Original Medicare package or a Medicare Advantage Plan. You might not need to subscribe for an additional coverage if you are still working.

Step 4: Sign up for Medicare

Unless you are automatically enrolled for Medicare, you would need to sign up for a plan on your own. Most people are automatically signed up for Part A and B. When this is the case, your red, white and blue Medicare cards would be mailed to you in 3 months before you are 65, or on the 25th month of your disability. If you don’t get any plans automatically, it means you are not enrolled and you have to sign up for Medicare online.

Medicare Eligibility Requirements

The most important eligibility requirement for Medicare is that you are 65 or you have certain disability or illness (End-Stage Renal Disease) that qualify you for the plan automatically. However, to be qualified for the premium free Part A, you must be entitled to it based on your earning or that of your spouse, child or parent. To be eligible, a worker must have a specified number of quarters of coverage (QCs) and at the same time file an application for Social Security or Railroad Retirement Board benefits. A person earn QCs through payment of payroll taxes under the watch of the Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA) during his working years. When the full FICA taxes are paid, an individual earns QCs that are enough to earn him eligibility for Social Security Benefits as well as premium free Part A Medicare.
Your eligibility for Medicare Part B is dependent on your eligibility for premium free Part A.

This means that if you are eligible for part A, you are most definitely eligible for part B. Enrolment in Medicare Part B is largely voluntary but yet you must be a US citizen, you must be 65 or older, you must be a US resident or you are an alien that have been legally admitted for permanent residence for at least five years before filing an application for a Medicare plan.

Now you can live healthily and happily ever even after 65. Choose a Medicare plan today!