Medicare can be confusing for many people, and it’s not hard to see why, what with all of the rules and the many moving “parts.” An easy way to reduce confusion and make your enrollment as easy as possible is to get up to speed on the rules for entering Medicare. In this short guide, we’ll run through the Mississippi Medicare eligibility rules and regulations.
The most basic elements of Medicare to be familiar with are eligibility and entry. These two criteria actually have slightly different rules, so we’ll look at each of them in turn.
To be eligible for the Medicare program, you have to be a U.S. citizen or a permanent legal resident of the country. Anyone who qualifies as a permanent legal resident has to have legally lived in the country for a minimum of five years. These are the only requirements for eligibility; if you meet these, you’re eligible to get benefits one day.
The second aspect to eligibility is entry into the program. Medicare was designed for people age 65 and older, so that’s when most people get their coverage. However, there are a few times that you can get coverage before you turn 65. This can include:
If you meet any of these criteria, you’ll be able to enter Medicare right away, regardless of your age. You’ll also be able to sign up for a private Medicare Insurance plan at that time, too.
If you don’t qualify early, your entry into Medicare might be automatic when you turn 65 if you decide to take Social Security retirement benefits at or before you turn 65. If you delay Social Security past age 65, you’ll need to sign up manually.
Getting your Original Medicare, Parts A and B, in place is the first step in completing your coverage plan. Most people also choose to enroll in one or two of the three private Medicare Insurance options. The rules for entering these plans are slightly different, so we’ll review them one-by-one.
To enroll in a standalone prescription drug plan (one that only offers drug benefits), you only need to be active in Part A or Part B of Original Medicare. You can get this coverage at any age, even if you enter Medicare before turning 65.
If you prefer to get your Medicare benefits and drug coverage through a Medicare Advantage Prescription Drug Plan (MAPD), you have to be actively enrolled in both Part A and Part B. If you’re younger than 65, that’s not a problem; Medicare Advantage doesn’t have a minimum age requirement.
In some states it can be difficult to get Medicare Supplement Insurance if you’re younger than 65 since federal law doesn’t require insurance companies to offer coverage to those under 65. However, the state of Mississippi does have a law that makes Medigap plans available to people under 65. They also have some limitation of premiums (Medigap premiums for people under 65 can be quite high). This important protection means that even if you enter Medicare before 65, the Mississippi Medicare eligibility rules are quite lenient, and you’ll have a full complement of enrollment options.
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