If you’re approaching your entry into Medicare, now is a great time to get familiar with the ins and outs of the program. Perhaps the best thing you can do to have a stress-free enrollment is to study the basics of the program, especially the rules about eligibility and the timing of your entry into the program. In this guide, we’ll review the Tennessee Medicare eligibility requirements.
The entire Medicare program, which is composed of Parts A and B, is authorized and administered by the federal government. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) is responsible for the administration of Medicare. This means that the rules for being eligible are set at the federal level.
To be eligible, you only have to meet one of two criteria:
If you meet one of these two criteria, and most people do, you are eligible to participate in Medicare. As you know, however, that doesn't mean that you get to enroll in Part A and B right away. You have to wait for your enrollment period. Since Medicare was designed for retiring Americans, you usually have to wait until you turn 65 to enter.
However, there are a few circumstances that can allow you to enter earlier than that. You can get coverage before age 65 in these cases:
If you meet these criteria, you’ll automatically enter Medicare, no matter how old you are at the time.
If you have to wait until you turn 65, you will be given a seven month enrollment window to enroll in, unless your entry is automatic. You’ll automatically enter at 65 if you claim your Social Security retirement benefits at or before age 65. If you delay Social Security past age 65, you will need to enroll in Medicare manually.
Note that you don’t always have to take Medicare just because you’ve turned 65. In some cases, you can delay taking Part B (you’ll probably need Part A) if you will remain covered by an employer health insurance plan.
Regardless of when you actually enroll, you’ll also have the opportunity to enroll in one of the private Medicare Insurance plans at that time, too.
In order to get drug coverage under Part D, you have to be enrolled in Part A or Part B, but there’s no need to have both. You can get Part D at any age, even if you enroll in Medicare early.
To get Medicare Advantage coverage under Part C, you must be enrolled in both Part A and Part B at the same time. You can get Medicare Advantage coverage at any age.
Federal law allows states to set their own eligibility rules for Medicare Supplement Insurance for people under age 65. Tennessee is one of the states that require insurance companies to offer this coverage to people who get Medicare early. However, they don’t regulate the prices that insurance companies can charge. This means that Medicare Supplement Insurance can be very expensive for people under 65 in Tennessee. For all intents and purposes, if you meet the Tennessee Medicare eligibility requirements before age 65, you’ll probably have to stick with either Part D or Part C coverage until you turn 65.
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