As you approach the eligibility age for Medicare, you've probably been wondering where to start and whether you should enroll in Medicare when you are first eligible. For American citizens and legal residents of five years or more, you are eligible for Medicare on the first day of your 65th birthday month.
You'll hear people say phrases like "Original Medicare"—and an alphabet of different parts. Medicare parts A and B make up Original Medicare, the healthcare you receive directly from the government as opposed to signing up with a private insurance company.
Medicare Part A handles hospital expenses like hospice and skilled nursing care, while Medicare part B addresses medical care, such as doctor's office visits, physical therapy, mental health care, and other outpatient services. Many people enroll in Medicare Parts A and B when they are first eligible, however, some people choose to forego enrolling in Part B until later and need to know what to do when later comes.
Medicare Part A has no charge to it so most people elect to take it even if they still have employer coverage. Medicare Part B has a monthly fee to it so when you are eligible for Medicare you have to decide whether to accept Medicare Part B or delay it.
You're likely to be automatically enrolled in Original Medicare (and therefore part B) in the following scenarios:
If you are not collecting Social Security Retirement benefits or RRB you will not be automatically enrolled, and you, therefore, need to enroll manually. For New Jersey residents that want to enroll in Medicare but do not want to receive Social Security benefits you can either enroll in Medicare Part B at your local Social Security office or on Social Security’s website.
The most common reason to delay enrollment in Medicare Part B is because you or your spouse are still working and receive employer health benefits. This decision depends on how much you pay per month for your coverage, your out of pocket expenses with your employer coverage, and whether you need to keep a spouse or dependent on the employer coverage who is not eligible for other health insurance.
For those of you who work for a small business and your employer has less than 20 employees then you are required to enroll in Medicare Part B when you are first eligible.
If you delay your Medicare Part B enrollment because you have other credible insurance coverage you will not be penalized and can enroll in Medicare Part B whenever you are losing your other insurance. You will have to complete a Part B application form and your employer will have to fill out a form which states that you’ve had credible insurance through them. If you have had your insurance through multiple companies since you’ve been eligible for Medicare then you will have to have each employer fill out the request for employment information form.
If you have questions, comments, or other concerns regarding enrolling in Medicare, you can turn to knowledgeable people to give you a hand. New Jersey Medicare Brokers offer free, unbiased, and well-researched information about the ups and downs of the Medicare system and how it applies in your area.