If you are looking to enroll in the Medicare program, there are some things you need to know. More importantly, you should know when the best time to apply is. The Initial Enrollment Period is ideal, but there are some time restrictions. Here is what you need to know now about them.
Medicare Initial Enrollment Period
The Initial Enrollment Period exists to make the transition into the Medicare program simple and easy to manage for people who are new to the program. The Initial Enrollment Period does not occur on a set date, instead it is unique to each individual. It begins three months before your 65th birthday, includes your birth month, and continues for three months following.
This 7 month period marks the point where you can first enroll in Medicare. If you qualify for automatic enrollment, you may be placed into the program automatically once this period starts. If you would prefer to abstain from receiving Medicare benefits, you may need to contact your local branch.
Initial Enrollment Period For Disabilities
Although the typical enrollment condition for Medicare is age, you can also qualify based on diagnosis of a chronic disability. If you are diagnosed with a chronic disability, you will become eligible for Medicare benefits after receiving Social Security Disability benefits for at least 24 months. In some instances, 24 months of disability benefits do not need to be collected. Specifically, individuals diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis or End-Stage Renal Disease will automatically qualify for Medicare benefits.
Why Enroll During the Initial Enrollment Period?
Even if you do not plan to retire at age 65, it may be ideal to enroll during the Initial Enrollment Period. This is especially true if you qualify for premium-free Part A, as it makes sense to tap into these free benefits as soon as possible. To qualify for premium-free Part A benefits, you must have paid adequately into Medicare taxes.
Enrolling during the Initial Enrollment Period can also benefit you if you intend to purchase a Medicare Supplement Insurance policy. These policies are available at the lowest possible price and without underwriting if you enroll in one when you are first eligible. If you choose to wait until after your Initial Enrollment Period ends, you may be subject to underwriting or higher premiums when you do decide to purchase your Medicare Supplement Insurance Policy.