How Do I Get Full Medicare Benefits
If youve worked at least 10 years while paying Medicare taxes, there is no monthly premium for your Medicare Part A benefits. But if you havent worked, or worked less than 10 years, you may qualify for premium-free Part A when your spouse turns 62, if she or he has worked at least 10 years while paying Medicare taxes. However, to be eligible for Medicare, you need to be 65 years old. You also need to be an American citizen or legal permanent resident of at least five continuous years.
So, to summarize with an example:
- Bob is 65 years old. Hes on Medicare, but he pays a monthly premium for his Medicare Part A benefits. He only worked for seven years and no longer works.
- His wife, Mary, has worked for over 30 years.
How To Sign Up For Medicare Advantage: When Can I Enroll
Medicare Advantage, also known as Medicare Part C, is another way to receive Original Medicare benefits and is offered through private insurance companies that have contracts with Medicare. At minimum, all Medicare Advantage plans must offer the same Medicare Part A and Part B benefits as Original Medicare. Some Medicare Advantage plans also include additional benefits, such as prescription drug coverage. You must have Original Medicare, Part A and B, to enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan through a private insurer.
You can enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan during two enrollment periods, the Initial Coverage Election Period and Annual Election Period.
Monthly Medicare Premiums For 2021
The standard Part B premium for 2021 is $148.50. If youre single and filed an individual tax return, or married and filed a joint tax return, the following chart applies to you:
|Modified Adjusted Gross Income||Part B monthly premium amount||Prescription drug coverage monthly premium amount|
|Individuals with a MAGI of less than or equal to $88,000 Married couples with a MAGI of $176,000 or less||2021 standard premium = $148.50|
|Your plan premium + $77.10|
Make Payments To The Federal Government
Learn how to use Pay.gov to make secure, electronic payments to government agencies from your checking or savings account. You can use the online service for VA medical care copayments, U.S. district court tickets, U.S. Coast Guard merchant mariner user fee payments, and more.
If you need help, contact Pay.gov customer service.
When Other Insurance Plans Cost Less Than Medicare
You may find that other insurance options are less expensive for you than Medicare.
Obamacare plans are an appealing but you are not allowed to have any part of Medicare while on an Obamacare plan. You could sign up for health coverage through your spouse’s health plan if that option is available. Better still, you may be eligible for health care based on your military experience, whether through the VA or TRICARE.
In these cases, you may be tempted to decline Medicare in favor of another insurance. After all, no one wants to pay two premiums if they don’t have to. However, you need to understand that declining Medicare can have serious repercussions.
It is unclear at this time how an Obamacare repeal will affect insurance access. This will depend on what kind of replacement plan the Trump administration puts forward.
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Can I Get Medicare Without Claiming Social Security Ask Rusty
Dear Rusty: I am 63 and my full retirement age is 66 and 2 months. I want to try and hold out to 70 before I start collecting SS. My 2018 Social Security statement said Im eligible to apply for Medicare at 65. Do I have to be receiving Social Security payments before I can be covered for Medicare? Or can I be covered beginning at 65 and not receive a Social Security check until I desire at 70? Signed: Approaching Medicare Age
Dear Approaching: You can do just as you wish you can enroll in Medicare at age 65 without claiming Social Security until you are 70. If you wait until you are 70 to claim Social Security your benefit amount will be nearly 31% higher than it would be at your full retirement age of 66 + 2 months.
You should also consider your prescription drug coverage needs once youre eligible for Medicare. If you do not have creditable prescription drug coverage when you turn 65, you will be subject to a late enrollment penalty if you purchase a drug plan later. Although prescription drug plans are referred to as Medicare Part D, this coverage is purchased from private providers either as an individual plan, or as part of a Medicare Advantage plan .
Finally, if you arent collecting Social Security when you enroll in Medicare Part B, you will need to make separate arrangements to pay the Part B premium. This is quite easy to do in any of the following ways:
What If Youre Still Working At 65
If youre still working at 65 and receiving health insurance through your employer, you may still need to sign up for Medicare. If your company offers health insurance and has fewer than 20 employees, your health insurer will refuse to pay for costs that Medicare would have covered. Signing up for Medicare will ensure that those costs are covered.
If your company has more than 20 employees, its still a good idea to enroll in free Part A coverage right away. Your coverage will be free since you already paid Medicare taxes. However, if you have a Health Savings Account, you wont be able to contribute to it once you enroll in Medicare, even if you only enroll in Part A.
Medicare Parts A And B
Original Medicare Part A covers hospital care, including emergency services, skilled nursing facility care, in-home care, home health services, and hospice.
Part A does not typically require a monthly premium, depending on your work and tax history.
If you are concerned what health services Medicare Part A covers, Medicare.gov recommends that you ask your doctor why you need specific health services during your hospital stay and if Medicare covers the cost of those services.
Original Medicare Part B covers the cost of doctors services that includes preventive care, outpatient services, lab tests, x-rays, and mental health care.
You must pay a monthly premium for Part B, and it only covers 80 percent of your health-related costs.
However, Medicare Parts A and B do not cover all medical related expenses. Here are some of the services Medicare does not cover:
- Custodial care
- Most dental care
- Hearing exams and hearing aids
Signing Up For Medicare Part A At 65 If Youre Still Working
If youre still working at age 65 and youre not claiming Social Security benefits, the government will not automatically enroll you in Medicare Part A, which covers hospital stays.
If you work for a company with 20 or more employees and youre enrolled in your employers health insurance plan, you do not have to enroll in Part A. If your employer covers the bulk of your premiums, you have a low deductible, and youre not eligible for premium-free Part A, it might make sense to continue relying solely on your workplace coverage.
If youre eligible for premium-free Part Amost people are because theyve paid Medicare taxes throughout their working yearsyou might as well enroll: Youve earned it. As secondary health insurance, Part A may cover hospital expenses your employer’s plan does not.
If you work for a company with fewer than 20 employees, you should enroll in Part A as soon as youre eligible. Medicare will become your primary payer.
If youre covered by a health insurance marketplace plan or COBRA, you should sign up for Medicare Part A during your initial enrollment period, which starts three months before you turn 65, includes your birthday month, and ends three months after you turn 65.
Note that Part A premium penalties apply if you are not eligible for premium-free Part A and you dont enroll when youre first eligible.
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If You’re Not Sure Why You Received A Payment
Contact the authorizing agency directly to find out why they sent the payment. You may be able to find the authorizing agency in the memo line of the check. View this diagram of a sample Treasury check to help you locate the authorizing agency contact information on your own check. Scroll about half way down the page to see the diagram.
If you’re unable to find which agency authorized the payment, . They can help you determine which government agency you need to contact. To find which RFC you need to call, look for its city and state at the top center of the check.
Use the Treasury Check Verification System to verify that the check is legitmate and issued by the government.
Ways To Apply For Disability Benefits:
- If you or your spouse worked for a railroad, call the Railroad Retirement Board at 1-877-772-5772.
Once your disability benefits start, well mail you a welcome package with your Medicare card.
Sign up for Part B if you live in Puerto Rico or outside the U.S.You get Part A automatically. If you want Part B, you need to sign up for it. If you dont sign up for Part B within 3 months after your Part A starts, you might have to wait to sign up for Part B and pay a monthly late enrollment penalty.
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Make Your Decisions Independently
Collecting Social Security is by no means a prerequisite to getting Medicare. In fact, its often advisable to sign up for Medicare as soon as youre eligible but wait on Social Security to avoid a reduction in benefits, or boost them as much as possible.
The only downside to signing up for Medicare alone is having to make your premium payments directly, as opposed to having them deducted from your Social Security benefits, but its a small price to pay for the upside of a higher lifetime income stream.
Maurie Backman has been writing professionally for well over a decade, and her coverage area runs the gamut from healthcare to personal finance to career advice. Much of her writing these days revolves around retirement and its various components and challenges, including healthcare, Medicare, Social Security, and money management.
Signing Up For Medicare Part B At 65 If Youre Still Working
If youre still working at age 65 and youre not claiming Social Security benefits, the government will not automatically enroll you in Medicare Part B, which covers doctors visits, diagnostic tests, medical equipment, ambulance transportation, and mental health care.
If you work for a company with 20 or more employees and youre enrolled in your employers health insurance plan, you dont have to enroll in Part B. You also might not want to because it isnt free. For 2020, the monthly premium is about $145 if you earn up to $87,000 as a single income tax filer or $174,000 as a married filer . Premiums increase in tiers at higher income levels.
However, you need to be sure that your workplace health insurance meets the IRS definition of group coverage. Youll want to get the answer in writing from your employer. If it doesnt, you should enroll in Part B to avoid paying the premium penalty thats imposed if you dont enroll in Part B within eight months of becoming eligible for it.
If you work for a company with fewer than 20 employees, you should enroll in Part B as soon as youre eligible. Medicare will become your primary payer.
If you already have Part B but you dont need it because you have group coverage, you can contact Medicare to unenroll. Keep your proof of group coverage in case you later need to prove you dont owe a penalty.
You cannot contribute to a health savings account once you enroll in Medicare.
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What Are Cases When Medicare Automatically Starts
Medicare will automatically start when you turn 65 if youve received Social Security Benefits or Railroad Retirement Benefits for at least 4 months prior to your 65th birthday.
Youll automatically be enrolled in both Medicare Part A and Part B at 65 if you get benefit checks. According to the Social Security Administration, more than 30% of seniors claim Social Security benefits early.1 For those seniors, Medicare Part A and Part B will automatically start when they reach the age of 65.
When do You Get Your Medicare Card?
You can expect to receive your Medicare card in the mail three months before your birthday. Your Medicare card will come with a complete enrollment package that includes basic information about your coverage. Your card wont be usable until you turn 65, even though youll receive the card before that time.
What Are Your Costs?
Keep in mind that youll still have to pay the usual costs of Medicare, even though youre automatically enrolled. Once your Medicare is active, the cost of your Part B premium will be deducted from your Social Security or RRB benefits.
What If You Already Enrolled in Medicare?
What about Medicare Supplement ?
What If I Switch to Medicare Advantage?
What I Have Part A?
What Should You Do Once You Get Medicare
Although you can rely on Original Medicare alone, 86% of Medicare enrollees also have some type of additional coverage.2 It can be from an employer, a privately-purchased plan or from a government-run program like Medicaid. Original Medicare pays for a great deal of healthcare, but still leaves you with potentially costly gaps in healthcare coverage. Supplementary plans can cover these gaps including deductibles and copayments at a fraction of the out-of-pocket rate.
MedicareGuide.coms plan selector is designed to intelligently bring you the best Medicare Supplement plans. These plans, also known as Medigap policies, fill the gaps in coverage that you would otherwise be charged by Original Medicare.
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My Dad And His Decision
My own dad, Joe, is receiving his social security income and started taking benefits when he was 65 years old.
Having been diagnosed with COPD in his late 20s, then Atrial Fibrillation in his 50s and a few other health conditions, Joe crunched the numbers around age 62. He decided that in order to get the most money from his years of paying into social security, collecting at age 65 presented the best-case scenario.
One in every four 65-year-olds will live past the age of 90. While its a tough pill to swallow, Joe doesnt expect to live to 90.
So, in order to maximize his retirement earnings, he filed his claim for SSI at age 65. Yes, he filed prior to full retirement age. However, he now has the time and income to enjoy his golden years.
Should You Wait Until 65 To Sign Up For Medicare
If you wait to sign up right before your 65th birthday , you may go for months without coverage.
Initial Enrollment Period
Your Initial Enrollment Period will last for 7 months. This Initial Enrollment Period begins 3 months before the month of your 65th birthday and ends 3 months after your birthday month. If you fail to enroll before your birthday month, your coverage will be delayed by a month or more.
General Enrollment Period
Youll have the option to sign up during the General Enrollment Period which falls between January 1 and March 31 every year if you didnt sign up during the Initial Enrollment Period. But youll potentially be charged a late enrollment penalty. Your premiums for Part B will be permanently increased by 10% for each year that you neglected to sign up for Part B and your monthly premiums for Part A will temporarily increase by 10%. As a rule, most people dont pay premiums for Part A, but then again, most people dont delay signing up for Part A. Your coverage will start on July 1, three months after the General Enrollment Period ends.
You may be able to avoid the late enrollment penalty and having to wait for the General Enrollment Period if you qualify for a Special Enrollment Period.
Special Enrollment Period
Its important to check with your insurer or HR department to make sure that your coverage is sufficient to postpone Medicare enrollment.
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Should I Sign Up For Medicare Part A
Most people who have worked and paid Medicare taxes for 10 years can get Medicare Part A with no monthly premium. Because of this, many people choose to sign up for Medicare Part A even if they have health insurance through work.
Medicare Part A covers things like hospice care and skilled nursing facility care that your health plan through work might not cover.
When youre getting Social Security benefits, youre automatically signed up for Part A. If youre not getting Social Security, you should sign up directly through Social Security. Find out how to sign up in our Help Center.
Tip: Always talk to your companyâs human resources department before you make the decision to sign up for Medicare. Your health insurance plan might work differently for you after you sign up for Medicare.
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