Florida is a haven for people in or near retirement. With so many people of retirement age in the Sunshine State, it’s important to have a solid understanding of Medicare eligibility. In this quick article, we’ll review the Medicare rules for eligibility and also your options for private Medicare coverage in Florida.
As you consider Florida Medicare eligibility requirements in 2023 and beyond, it’s useful to keep in mind that most of the guidelines are set federally. The big exception has to do with eligibility for Medicare Supplement Insurance, which we’ll discuss later.
The federal rules for Medicare eligibility work in two ways:
In order to be eligible for Medicare there is only one requirement: you have to be a citizen of the United States, or a permanent legal resident. If you’re a permanent legal resident, you have to have lived legally in the U.S. for five consecutive years. If you meet the citizenship or legal resident rule, you’ll be able to receive Medicare benefits at some point in your life.
There are three possible ways to enter Medicare and begin using your benefits:
While you can enter Medicare early because of your health or disability status, most Americans don’t enter until they turn 65. In this case, you’ll be able to enroll in Medicare during a seven month window known as your Initial Election Period (IEP). In some cases your enrollment will be automatic (it depends on whether you’re already taking Social Security retirement income). If your enrollment into Medicare is automatic, your Part A and B cover will start on the first day of the month you turn 65. If your enrollment isn’t automatic, you can use your IEP to enroll manually. You can sign up in-person, online, or over the phone.
Once you are enrolled in Medicare Part A and Part B, also known as Original Medicare, you’ll have the ability to enroll in a private Medicare plan.
The eligibility and entry rules for private Medicare Insurance plans like Part D drug plans and Medicare Advantage (Part C) plans match Original Medicare. There are no age requirements, so you can get either of these coverages even if you enter Medicare before age 65.
Florida has slightly different rules for eligibility for Medicare Supplement Insurance. Florida is one of the states that allows you to get Medicare Supplement Insurance before you turn 65 years old. However, you may find that this coverage is very expensive. Since federal rules don’t require insurance companies to offer Medicare Supplement Insurance to people younger than 65, premiums for people under 65 tend to be pricey.
However, you’ll have the right to enroll in a Medicare Supplement plan when you eventually turn 65, even if you pass on Medicare Supplement Insurance when you first enter Medicare. When you enroll in Medicare Supplement in Florida at age 65 or older, you’ll have access to the lower-cost, standard, pricing.
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