Becoming eligible for Medicare means making some new choices. One choice is whether or not you should join a Medicare Advantage plan.
Many people who are new to Medicare join a Medicare Advantage plan because it is a popular choice and because plans typically have a lower monthly premium than a Medicare supplement, often include Part D coverage and extra benefits that are not part of original Medicare.
If you are new to Medicare and would like to enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan you must do so during the allotted time frame. This article will address time frames for people turning 65 as well as for people receiving Medicare due to a disability.
Becoming Medicare eligible at 65
When you first become eligible for Medicare you have a 7 month window in which to enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan. You can join in the first 3 months prior to the month you turn 65, the month your turn 65 and the 3 months after the month you turn 65.
If you would like to have your Medicare Advantage plan in place when your Medicare eligibility begins you should submit your application prior to the month you turn 65.
The effective date for a Medicare Advantage plan will be the 1st day of your birth month. If you wait until the month you were born or the 3 months after the month you were born, your plan will become effective the 1st day of the following month.
Becoming Medicare Eligible due to a disability
Becoming eligible for Medicare due to a disability does not require that you wait until you turn 65. You can join a plan during the 7 month period which begins 3 months prior to your 25th month of disability, the 25th month and 3 months after your 25th month of disability.
Disability is defined by the fact that you are receiving disability benefits. Being unable to work and receiving disability benefits from a private insurance policy does not qualify towards the 25 month period.
If you are enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan due to a disability and later turn 65, you will be entitled to a Special Enrollment Period when you can switch or drop a Medicare Advantage plan.
Knowing when you can enroll in a plan is half the battle. Your next step will be to research available plans to determine which one is right for you.
To learn more about Medicare Advantage plans request our free 8 Part Video Mini-Course for people new to Medicare.