Ask Medicare Matthew: What is Medicare?

Ask Medicare Matthew: Getting Medicare Started

Are you getting close to Medicare eligibility or helping someone understand their Medicare? One of the foundations for people to understand is when or how to get their Medicare started? It can be confusing, but with a few basics pieces of understanding, you'll discover the simplicity in beginning your Medicare coverage.

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Healthcare Literacy

Q: How Do I Get Medicare Started?

A: The scenario happens quite frequently: Someone decides that it is time to begin understanding Medicare and how it works, so they ask someone they trust. This person knows my special, kung-fu-blackbelt skills in Medicare and so shares my name and number. “Freedom Insurance Advisors, this is Matthew. How may I help you?” and so it goes.

The most basic scenario is that you can expect your Medicare to begin on the first day of the month in which you turn 65. For example, your birthday is on July 4, then your Medicare begins on July 1. This is true unless your birthday is on the first day of the month (July 1), then your Medicare begins on the prior month (June 1).

If you are receiving Social Security benefits already, then you will automatically receive your Medicare card (Red, White & Blue Card) via postal mail 3 months prior to the effective date. If you are not currently enrolled, but intend to apply for Social Security benefits for when you turn 65, make sure you contact the Social Security Administration and enroll into both at the same time. Again, give yourself a good three months prior to your expected Medicare start date.

If you choose to delay your Social Security benefits, you will automatically be enrolled into Part A only. This is fine, and no action is needed, unless you do not have group(employee) coverage. While still working (or on spousal group coverage while they work), if the group coverage will be primary insurance (the group has more than 20 employees), you do not need Medicare Part B. When you decide to retire, then you’ll contact SSA to enroll into Part B. Remember, give them a good cushion of time to get everything straight. You will need to provide proof that you had employee coverage.

If you are eligible for Social Security disability, your Medicare will begin 24 months after the disability start-date. They’ll send your card via postal.

Remember, this is just your starting point. I would never suggest a person only have Original Medicare (Part A & Part B). This is due to the lack of an out-of-pocket spending limit. To add this, you’ll choose between one of 2 routes: #1 Medicare Supplement and a Part D plan OR #2 Medicare Advantage (which includes Part D).

Being new to Medicare, you are not alone. Many people are becoming eligible for Medicare daily. Just choose not to go at it alone.

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Healthcare Literacy

Matthew has been passionately providing top quality guidance for health and Medicare insurance options for over 7 years. Many people call him "Medicare Matthew".