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Applying for Medicare involves making crucial choices regarding your health coverage. If you wait too late to enroll, you may incur a penalty and have a gap in your coverage. Read on to find answers to important questions, so you can make informed decisions about Medicare.

What Are the Parts of Medicare?

Different parts of Medicare pertain to certain services. Medicare Part A deals with inpatient care at hospitals and other health care facilities. Medicare Part B takes care of some physicians’ services, outpatient care, preventative services, and medical supplies.

When Can You Obtain Medicare?

You may only enroll in Medicare at certain times. Some people automatically qualify for it, while others must apply. Your seven-month Initial Enrollment Period is the first time you are eligible to apply. This period begins three months before your 65th birthday month. It includes the month you turn 65 and ends three months later.

If you do not enroll during this period, you may be charged a Part B late enrollment penalty. You may also not be able to receive some coverage if you choose Part B later.

Should You Choose Part A and Part B?

Under most circumstances, you need to enroll in Part A upon your 65th birthday. Since you likely paid Medicare taxes on your job, you will not have to pay a monthly premium for Part A. Depending on what kind of health coverage they already have, some individuals may elect Part B later. Everyone will pay a premium for Part B according to income.

How Do You Select Coverage?

You can obtain Medicare coverage through Original Medicare or through a Medicare Advantage Plan. You may opt for additional coverage, such as the Part D Medicare prescription drug plan or Medigap. If you still have coverage through your employer, you may not need extra coverage at all.

Will You Automatically Get Medicare?

If you are enrolled automatically, you will receive a Medicare card three months before you turn 65 or upon 25 months of disability. Otherwise, you must apply online. Find out if you will be automatically enrolled in Parts A and B.

You're Enrolled. What Should You Do Next?

Once you've enrolled, you can:

• Complete an Authorization Form so that relatives or friends can contact Medicare on your behalf

• Sign up with MyMedicare.gov for 24/7 access to your Medicare information

• Set up for a free "Welcome to Medicare" appointment

• Learn about your coverage

• Go paperless to receive electronic updates

Call your local Jacksonville insurance agency at The Della Porta Group today to help guide you through your Medicare selection process.

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