When you’re approaching your entry into Medicare, it’s a great idea to be well prepared with a plan for your coverage. The most fundamental part of any plan should be knowing when you’ll qualify for coverage and the exact timing of your entry into Medicare. In this brief article we will look into the Pennsylvania Medicare eligibility requirements to help you lay the foundation of your enrollment plan.
If you’re going to make a plan from the ground up, it’s important to start with the basics. While most people have some idea of the eligibility and entry rules for Medicare, there is often a lot of uncertainty, too.
To start with, make sure you understand that Medicare is composed of two different programs that work together. Part A provides hospital insurance and Part B gives you medical insurance. Together, Parts A and B are known as Original Medicare. Most Americans are eligible for Medicare because the program is designed for citizens of the U.S. and for permanent legal residents. If either of those apply to you, you are eligible to participate in the program at some point in your life.
You won’t actually enter Parts A and B until you reach a life milestone, though. There are four milestones that will allow you to enter Medicare:
You can see that there are three reasons why you might enter Medicare before age 65. If any of these apply, you’ll get to enter the program, no matter how young you are. While this does happen to many people, you’re more likely to have to wait until you turn 65 to enter Medicare.
When turning 65 is your trigger into Medicare, you’ll have a seven month enrollment opportunity called your Initial Election Period (IEP) during which you can enroll. This enrollment period is centered on your birth month, so you’ll actually have the chance to sign up three months before the month you turn 65. It’s important that you enroll in Parts A and B during this time, because if you don’t, you can be subject to late enrollment penalties.
On the other hand, if you will continue to be covered by an employer group health insurance plan after you turn 65, you may be able to safely delay your enrollment into Part B. In this case, you’ll be given a special opportunity to add Part B once your employer coverage ends. There will be no penalty in this case as long as your employer has more than 20 employees. Always check with your employer’s Human Resources department to verify your options.
Entering Original Medicare, whether at age 65 or a different age, is usually only the first step in Medicare coverage for most people. Because of the various gaps in Original Medicare, most Amercians take advantage of at least one of the three private Medicare Insurance coverages available. The eligibility requirements for these plans are all slightly different.
The most basic of the private options is Part D prescription drug coverage. You can get this coverage at any age as long as you’re enrolled in either Part A or Part B.
Eligibility requirements for Medicare Advantage plans match those for Original Medicare. You have to be active in both Part A and Part B. Age isn’t a factor, though, so you can get this coverage even if you enter Medicare early.
To get Medicare Supplement Insurance in Pennsylvania, you have to be enrolled in Part A and Part B. Unlike in many other states, you can get Medicare Supplement coverage even if you’re younger than 65. This makes the Pennsylvania Medicare eligibility rules some of the least restrictive in the nation.
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