When is a good time to look for private health insurance for seniors?
As with anything else, the best way to accomplish something well is to get started early! There are deadlines that seniors must keep in mind when making decisions about private health care insurance. You may face limited options if you wait too long to look into your insurance needs.
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Medicare is of great importance to most senior citizens, and knowing when you are supposed to sign up for the various parts is very important. It is imperative to know the period of time when you are eligible to sign up and what impact missing that will have on you.
You need to get your Medicare plan in place so you will know if any supplemental health insurance plans may be needed to complete your coverage. Don’t assume that Medicare will meet all of your needs, especially if you have a chronic illness. You may have to spend some time investigating what senior health insurance companies have to offer you.
When To Sign Up For Medicare
When can I sign up for Medicare? For most people age 65 is the age of eligibility for Medicare and its related plans.
You have a window of time to enroll and if you enroll late for parts of the plan you will face delayed benefits and higher premium costs. You should contact the closest Social Security office or call them at 1-800-772-1214 about three months before you turn 65 years old.
Eligibility and age based information can be found on the Social Security website.
Time Frame For Medicare Part A and B Enrollment
What is the time frame for Medicare part A and B enrollment? After you become eligible for Medicare part A hospital insurance, you have seven months to enroll in Medicare part B medical insurance. Delaying this sign up will cause delayed benefits and higher premiums. The enrollment period for part B is the first three months before and after your 65th birthday, and including the month of your birthday makes up a seven month window of enrollment.
If you sign up in the first three months your Medicare health insurance benefits begin as soon as you are eligible. If you wait to sign up in last four months, your benefits will begin one to three months after enrollment. The importance of timing in your health care decisions cannot be overstated. There is money to be saved by making the enrollment deadlines.
If you miss enrolling in Medicare part B during your initial time frame of eligibility, you will have an opportunity each year to do so during a general or open enrollment period. This period is January 1st through March 31st each year. Coverage will be delayed and will start on July 1st of the year you enroll using this method. It is important to note that your health insurance premium will increase by 10% for each year beyond your eligibility year that you wait to enroll- since this can be very costly, it literally pays to do this on time!
Medicare Part C
What is Medicare part C coverage?Once you have enrolled in Medicare part A and have made a decision on part B, you can elect to purchase a part C policy. This is also known as the Medicare Advantage Plan and is offered by private health care insurance companies and approved by Medicare.
These policies are in place of Medigap policies and have some advantages over them. Medicare part C policies also have a certain time frame during which they must be purchased.
If you ever wish to opt out of any part C plan you purchased you can go back to original Medicare during the special enrollment period for doing this which is from January 1st through February 14th each year. Exercising this option also means you also can join a Medicare prescription plan with a February 14 to deadline for sign up. Coverage will begin the first day of the month following acceptance. A good overview of Medicare can be found at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services website.
Special Enrollment Periods
Are there any special enrollment periods? Yes, there is a special enrollment period for people covered under an employer-sponsored group health insurance plan. This applies regardless of whether you are on your own or with your spouses as long as you are currently employed and covered. You can enroll in Medicare part B anytime during the period you are employed, or you have up to eight months to enroll after the group health insurance or your employment ends.
Delayed enrollment based on this special rule is exempt from the 10% additional premium fee that you would normally have to pay. If you miss this deadline, you would have to wait for the next normal general enrollment period. Full details can be found at the Social Security website.
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