You are eligible for Medicare when you turn 65 and have spent at least five continuous months as a permanent resident in the U.S.
You also need to be an American citizen or meet other eligibility requirements as specified by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). Until then, you may want to explore your other healthcare options.
What is Medicare?
Medicare is a federal health insurance program that provides coverage for people aged 65 or older, those diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), and individuals with permanent kidney disease.
It also covers people with end-stage kidney disease who are under age 65, as well as individuals who have amyotrophic lateral sclerosis who are under age 65.
In addition to providing health coverage, Medicare also helps beneficiaries find providers and facilities covered by the program. It can be particularly helpful to those who live in rural or underserved areas.
How Does it Work?
When you enroll in Medicare, you are assigned a program and a coverage period. Your program will be Parts A, B, and D, depending on your situation.
You can find out what programs you qualify for by speaking to a Social Security representative who can answer any questions about Medicare and help you enroll.
If you have a low income, you might be eligible for extra help to cover your Medicare costs, including premiums, co-payments, and deductibles. You can also opt for California Medicare for Medicare Supplement and Medicare Advantage plans.
Who is Eligible for Medicare?
Anyone who has been a permanent resident in the U.S. for at least five continuous months and is at least 65 years of age is eligible for Medicare.
People who have been receiving disability benefits from Social Security for at least 24 months may be able to get coverage 11 months ahead of their official Medicare eligibility date.
Certain people with disabilities who receive SSI or SSDI may also be able to enroll in Medicare three months before the official eligibility date. You may also be eligible for Medicare if you are transitioning out of active duty in the military.
When Will You Receive Your Medicare Card?
Your coverage will start on your official enrollment date, but you will not receive your card before that time. You should get your card within ten days if you have enrolled online. If you have enrolled over the phone, you will receive your card within 14 days.
If you have applied in person, you will receive your card within 30 days. The Medicare card is your proof of coverage and contains your name, enrollment ID, and Social Security number.
What Are the Different Types of Coverage?
Part A is your hospital insurance coverage through Medicare. It covers care in a hospital, skilled nursing facility, or home for any medical condition that may require extended medical attention. It also covers any complications from a chronic condition.
Part B is your medical insurance coverage through Medicare. It covers various services, including doctor visits, lab tests, and other medical procedures. It also covers care from a provider out of network, but you will have to pay more.
Part D is the prescription drug coverage through Medicare. It may cover some costs related to the treatment of a medical condition, but it is primarily meant to help you cover the cost of prescriptions.
How Much Does It Cost?
The amount you pay for Medicare depends on which coverage period you are assigned to, your current income, and whether you have other sources of health coverage. If you are under 65 and have a disability, you may be eligible for Medicare coverage before you turn 65.
Once you become eligible, you will be automatically enrolled in Parts A and B and retroactively apply for your Medicare from the day you became eligible.
It’s important to understand what Medicare covers and what it doesn’t in order to plan your healthcare strategy. Medicare is designed to be combined with other sources of coverage, such as employer-provided health insurance or supplemental insurance.
Medicare Parts A, B, and D differ greatly. Knowing what each plan covers can help you navigate the system and get the right coverage.