What is Medicare?
Medicare is a national health insurance program in the United States. It is primarily for people who are 65 years of age or older, but it also covers some younger people with disabilities and those with End-Stage Renal Disease (permanent kidney failure requiring dialysis or transplant).
There are four parts to Medicare:
Part A covers hospital stays and some related services.
Part B covers medical services such as doctor visits, outpatient care, and medical supplies.
Part C is optional and allows beneficiaries to receive their Medicare benefits through private insurance plans.
Part D covers prescription drugs.
When to enroll?
Most people do not pay a premium for Part A, because they or their spouse paid for it through their payroll taxes while they were working. However, beneficiaries must pay a premium for Part B, Part C, and Part D coverage.
Someone would enroll in Medicare when they become eligible for the program. There are different enrollment periods, depending on the type of Medicare coverage:
Initial Enrollment Period (IEP): This is the first time someone is eligible to enroll in Medicare. It occurs around the time of their 65th birthday or after they have been receiving Social Security disability benefits for 24 months. The IEP lasts for seven months, beginning three months before the person's 65th birthday and ending three months after their 65th birthday.
General Enrollment Period (GEP): If someone misses their IEP, they can enroll during the GEP, which occurs annually from January 1 to March 31. However, if they enroll during the GEP, their coverage won't begin until July 1 of that year, and they may have to pay a late enrollment penalty.
Special Enrollment Period (SEP): Someone may be eligible for a SEP if they have certain life changes, such as moving to a new area, losing their current coverage, or turning 65 while still working and covered by an employer's health plan. The SEP allows them to enroll in Medicare outside of the IEP or GEP.
In conclusion, someone would enroll in Medicare when they become eligible for the program, typically around their 65th birthday or after they have been receiving Social Security disability benefits for 24 months. There are different enrollment periods, including the IEP, GEP, and SEP, depending on the circumstances. It's important to enroll during the appropriate enrollment period to avoid late enrollment penalties and gaps in coverage.
How to enroll?
First and foremost--we hope you'll call or text us at (541) 844-3434 and let us help you handle the process. For those wanting to take a shot on your own at signing up--you can follow these basic requited steps to enroll in Medicare Part A and B:
Determine eligibility: You may be automatically enrolled in Medicare Part A and B if you're already receiving Social Security or Railroad Retirement benefits when you turn 65. Otherwise, you'll need to sign up during your Initial Enrollment Period (IEP).
Gather information: Before you enroll, you'll need to have certain information ready, including your Social Security number, the date your Part A coverage should begin (if you're not being automatically enrolled), and whether you want to enroll in Part B (which requires paying a monthly premium).
Enroll: You can enroll in Medicare Part A and B through the Social Security Administration (SSA) website, by phone, or in person at your local SSA office. If you're already receiving Social Security benefits, you may be automatically enrolled in Part A and B.
Make payments: If you're not being automatically enrolled, you may need to pay a premium for Part B. You can do this by setting up automatic payments or paying by mail.
Start using your benefits: Once your coverage begins, you can start using your Medicare benefits, including hospital, medical, and preventive care.
In conclusion, to enroll in Medicare Part A and B, you'll need to determine your eligibility, gather information, enroll through the SSA, make any necessary payments, and then start using your benefits. It's important to enroll during your Initial Enrollment Period to avoid late enrollment penalties and gaps in coverage.
Why should you enroll?
There are several reasons why you should enroll in Medicare when you become eligible:
Avoid Late Enrollment Penalties: If you do not sign up for Medicare during your Initial Enrollment Period (IEP), you may be subject to late enrollment penalties that can increase your premiums for the rest of your life. Enrolling in Medicare when you are first eligible can help you avoid these penalties.
Access to Affordable Healthcare: Medicare can provide affordable healthcare coverage to people who are 65 years old or older, or those with certain disabilities. Medicare can help you pay for doctor visits, hospital stays, preventive services, and prescription drugs, among other things.
Additional Coverage Options: Depending on your needs, you may be able to choose from a variety of Medicare plans, such as Medicare Advantage or Medicare Supplement plans, that can provide additional coverage beyond what is offered by Original Medicare.
Peace of Mind: Having health insurance coverage can provide peace of mind and financial security, knowing that you are protected from potentially high medical costs that can arise unexpectedly.
In summary, enrolling in Medicare when you are first eligible can help you avoid penalties, access affordable healthcare, provide additional coverage options, and give you peace of mind.
Why do I get so many letters and phone calls?
Brokers are typically paid a commission by insurance companies for enrolling eligible Medicare members in Medicare Supplement or Medicare Advantage plans. There is no additional fee for using a broker to select a Medicare Supplement or Medicare Advantage plan and Littlejohn Insurance is happy to help answer any and all questions you may have about specific plans and how they are set up to work.
When a Medicare member enrolls in a plan through a broker, the insurance company will pay the broker a commission for enrolling that member in the plan. The commission is typically paid upfront when the member enrolls, and the amount of the commission is typically the same on Medicare Advantage plans, but can differ on some Medigap Supplement plans. The broker will continue to receive a commission for as long as the member remains enrolled in the plan.
It's important to note that while brokers are paid a commission for enrolling members in plans, they are also required to act in the best interests of their clients and provide them with accurate and unbiased information. Brokers are obligated to provide their clients with all available options, even if those options may not result in a commission for the broker.
In summary, brokers make commissions when eligible Medicare members select Supplement or Medicare Advantage plans, but they are also required to act in the best interests of their clients and provide them with accurate and unbiased information.