If you’re getting ready to enter Medicare, you’ll want to take some time to develop a plan for your enrollment. Understanding the basics of the Medicare program is a great place to start. In addition to the basics of coverage, you’ll want to be familiar with the specifics of when you’ll enter and start using your benefits. Read this article for an overview of the New Jersey Medicare eligibility guidelines.
It’s best to think of your relationship to Medicare in two different, but related, statuses:
Most people spend very little time on the first status, eligibility, because they have a basic understanding of how the program works. Just to make sure it’s clear, though, here are the rules for eligibility. All Americans are eligible for Medicare if they are U.S. citizens or permanent legal residents.
Now, all this means is that if you meet one of these criteria, you will be able to get Medicare coverage at some future time. Most people understand that Medicare is designed for people age 65 and older. However, there are some ways that you can enter Medicare before you’re 65.
You’ll be eligible to enter early if you’ve received disability payments from Social Security or the Railroad Retirement Board for 24 consecutive months. You can also enter early if you’re diagnosed with ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease) or End Stage Renal Disease.
In all of these cases, you’ll enter Medicare when you meet those criteria; there is no minimum age. This means that Medicare coverage can begin for people even if they’re much younger than 65.
Most people, though, get to enter Medicare when they turn 65. For these people, a fundamental question must be answered: do I want to start taking Medicare Part B at age 65? You might answer “no” if you’re going to be working beyond age 65 and you’ll be covered by your employer plan. In this case, you can delay taking Part B as long as your employer has at least 20 employees.
If you want your full Medicare benefits to start at 65, you will want to understand whether your enrollment is automatic or not. You will be automatically enrolled in both Part A and B if you’re receiving Social Security retirement benefits at the time you turn 65. If you’re not taking Social Security, then you’ll need to enroll in Medicare manually.
Enrolling in Original Medicare, Parts A and B, will allow you to select and enroll in whichever private Medicare Insurance plan you elect.
The eligibility and entry rules for the three private coverages available (Medicare Supplement Insurance, Medicare Advantage, and Medicare Prescription Drug Plans), align with your eligibility for Parts A and B.
For standalone prescription drug plans you only need to be active in Part A or Part B. For both Medicare Advantage and Medicare Supplement Insurance, you have to be active in both Part A and Part B.
For all three types of private Medicare coverage, there are no age restrictions. This means that when you meet the New Jersey Medicare eligibility requirements, you’ll have a full complement of choices for private coverage, no matter how old you are.
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