When Medicare is on the horizon it’s important to make sure to know when your benefits start. You should make sure, in advance, that you have a firm grasp on the timing of your entry into the health insurance program. In this quick guide, we’ll look at the Washington Medicare eligibility requirements to help you be prepared for your entry into Medicare.
As you make your health coverage plans for your retirement years, it’s important to understand the timing of your entry and the beginning of your benefits. In many cases, employer provided health insurance is expensive, especially for people who get coverage through a spouse’s employer. Entering Medicare can save a lot of money in this case.
While most Americans are eligible to participate in Medicare sometime in their lives, you usually have to wait until you turn 65 in order to enter the program. When you gain eligibility in this way, you’ll experience a seven month enrollment window that’s called your Initial Election Period (IEP). Your IEP starts three months before the month that you turn 65.
You’re allowed to sign up for Part A and Part B at any time during this enrollment window. It’s possible, though, that you might want to delay taking your Part B benefit. If you plan to keep working, and your employer has more than 20 employees, you can choose to stay on your employer coverage and delay Part B. When your employer coverage ends, you can then enroll in Part B. By doing this, you are able to save the money that you would have spent on Part B premiums.
There are some circumstances that can cause you to enter Medicare early. This can happen if any of these occur:
In any of these cases, you will enter Medicare no matter how old you are, even if you’re many years younger than 65.
Your entry into Part A and B also triggers your ability to get private Medicare coverage like Part D drug plans, Medicare Supplement Insurance, or Medicare Advantage plans. Each of these plan types has its own eligibility rules.
To get a Medicare Advantage plan, you have to be actively enrolled in both Parts A and B. You can get Medicare Advantage at any age, even if you’re younger than 65.
Part D drug coverage is even easier to get. You only have to be enrolled in one of the two Parts - A or B. Again, age is irrelevant.
In order to get Medicare Supplement Insurance, you also have to be enrolled in both Part A and Part B. However, Washington is one of many states that do not require insurance companies to offer Medicare Supplement Insurance to people who enter Medicare before age 65. This means that your options will probably be limited if you satisfy the Washington Medicare eligibility requirements earlier than 65.
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