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Discover if you are eligible for Medicare, how to enroll, and what Medicare covers and what it does not cover.

En español | Medicare: Am I Eligible? AARP's Medicare Question and Answer Tool works as an online planning resource, designed to assist those who are eligible for Medicare benefits as well as those who are unsure. The Medicare Q and A Tool acts also as a guide, explaining in plain English eligibility, how to enroll, when to enroll and how to choose the best plan for you. AARP's Medicare Question and Answer Tool is a starting point toward an informed decision about your Medicare coverage and your eligibility.

 

 

 

Eligibility Q & A Home

  

Q: How do I qualify for Medicare?

A: You can qualify for Medicare on the basis of either age or disability.— Read Full Answer

 

Q: If I retire at age 62, will I be eligible for Medicare?

A: No. You must wait until you are 65 to become eligible for Medicare, unless you’re younger and qualify because of disability. — Read Full Answer

 

Q: I’m 65 and my wife is 63. When will she qualify for Medicare?

A: Your wife must wait until she is 65 to qualify for Medicare. Only people who receive Social Security disability benefits are eligible for Medicare at an earlier age. — Read Full Answer

Q: Do I automatically receive Medicare if I qualify for disability benefits?

A: No. In most cases you must have been receiving Social Security disability benefits for two years before Medicare coverage begins. But there are two exceptions. — Read Full Answer

Q: Can I get Medicare if I have advanced kidney disease?

A: Yes, you may qualify for Medicare at any age if you have permanent kidney failure that requires regular dialysis or a kidney transplant, and if you meet certain conditions. — Read Full Answer

Q: When is the best time to buy Medicare supplemental insurance (Medigap)?

A: The best time to buy Medigap insurance depends on your age, where you live, and when you qualify for protections provided under federal or state law. — Read Full Answer

 

Q: Will I be eligible to buy a Medigap policy if I have a preexisting medical condition?

A: Yes, if you are 65 or older and buy a policy during defined periods when you receive protections known as “guaranteed issue” under federal law. But if you are under 65 and qualify for Medicare through disability, it depends on whether your state provides similar protections. — Read Full Answer

 

Q: Can I get Medicare if I live overseas?

A: No. Medicare doesn’t cover medical care outside the United States, except for very limited situations along the Canadian and Mexican borders. If you’re living overseas when you become eligible for Medicare, it’s important to understand your options for enrollment. — Read Full Answer

Q: Will Medicare cover me if I travel outside the United States?

A: Medicare doesn’t pay for medical services outside the United States and its territories except in rare circumstances, but certain types of additional insurance may pay in emergencies.— Read Full Answer

 

Q: Can I qualify for Medicare at 65 or older if I haven’t applied for Social Security retirement benefits?

A: Yes — provided that you meet the conditions for Medicare eligibility.— Read Full Answer

 

 

 

Initial Enrollment Q & A Home

 

Q: How do I join a Medicare Part D prescription drug plan?

A: First you must select a Part D drug plan out of many available in your state. Then there are several options for the process of signing up.— Read Full Answer

Q: How can I tell which Part D prescription drug plans provide good service?

A: Medicare assigns a quality rating to each plan, based on its customer service and other measures, to help beneficiaries choose a plan. — Read Full Answer

 

Q: Is enrollment in a Medicare Advantage plan automatic or do I need to enroll directly with the plan?

A: You need to enroll directly with the plan, during a designated enrollment period.— Read Full Answer

 

Q: When can I join a Medicare Part D prescription drug plan?

A: You can join a Part D prescription drug plan, or switch to another, during a designated enrollment period.— Read Full Answer

 

Q: I have original Medicare (Parts A and B). Do I also have to enroll separately in Medicare Part D prescription drug coverage?

A: You may not need Part D if you have “creditable” drug coverage from elsewhere. But otherwise, the only way Medicare will help pay for your prescription drugs is if you join a stand-alone Part D drug plan. — Read Full Answer

Q: Do I have to join a Medicare Part D prescription drug plan?

A: No, Part D is a voluntary benefit. But if you don’t enroll in a Part D drug plan when you’re first eligible — and if you don’t have comparable drug coverage from elsewhere — you risk delayed coverage and permanent late penalties if you want to join at a later date. — Read Full Answer

Q: Do I need Medicare Part D drug coverage if I take no prescription drugs, or only the occasional one?

A: You should seriously consider enrolling in a Part D prescription drug plan, if you don’t have comparable drug coverage from elsewhere, to protect yourself against possible high drug costs in the future. — Read Full Answer

 

 

 

Open Enrollment Q & A Home

 

Q: What actions can I take during Medicare open enrollment each year?

A: Medicare’s open enrollment period runs from Oct. 15 to Dec. 7 each year. It gives people who are already enrolled in Medicare the opportunity to review their current coverage and, if they want, switch to a different plan for the following year. — Read Full Answer

 

Q: If I have a Medicare Advantage plan, can I switch to original Medicare during open enrollment?

A: Yes, you can make this change during the open enrollment period or during the annual “disenrollment period” that soon follows it. — Read Full Answer

Q: What are my options if my Medicare Advantage plan is ending at the end of this year?

A: If your Medicare Advantage plan ceases coverage, you can transfer to another Medicare Advantage plan of your choice or return to coverage provided under the original Medicare program. — Read Full Answer

Q: If I am unhappy with my Medicare Advantage plan, can I switch plans?

A: Yes, you can switch plans, but only at certain times, according to your circumstances. — Read Full Answer

Q: If I am satisfied with my current Medicare coverage, do I need to make any changes during Medicare’s open enrollment period?

A: If you’re happy with your current coverage, you don’t need to do anything during open enrollment. But it’s still worth considering the alternatives to ensure that you continue to get your best deal.— Read Full Answer

Q: If I change my Medicare plan during open enrollment, when will my new coverage start?

A: If you change your Medicare coverage during Medicare's open enrollment period, your new coverage will begin on Jan. 1. — Read Full Answer

 

Q: If I change my Medicare Part D plan during Medicare's open enrollment, when will my new coverage start?

A: If you make a change to your Medicare Part D coverage during Medicare's open enrollment period, your new coverage will begin on Jan. 1. — Read Full Answer

 

Q: If I drop my Medicare Part D prescription drug coverage during Medicare’s Open Enrollment, can I pick it up in the future without a penalty?

A: Generally, unless you have coverage from another source (like your employer) if you drop Medicare Part D prescription drug coverage, you will need to pay a penalty if you later decide to enroll again. — Read Full Answer

 

Q: When and how often can I switch my Medicare prescription drug plan?

A: Generally, if you join a Medicare Part D prescription drug plan you can switch your plan during the open enrollment period, which takes place each year from Oct. 15 to Dec. 7. — Read Full Answer

 

Q: If I switch from Original Medicare with Medigap coverage to Medicare Advantage should I keep my Medigap coverage?

A: If you switch from Original Medicare to a Medicare Advantage plan, your Medigap plan won’t work with Medicare Advantage. — Read Full Answer

 

Q: If I have a Medigap plan and cancel it, can I get it back during open enrollment?

A: When you are first eligible for Medicare, you have a six-month Medigap open enrollment period. Once this enrollment period ends, if you cancel your Medigap policy you might not be able to reenroll at a later date. — Read Full Answer

 

Q: Do I have to reenroll in my Medicare Part D prescription drug plan every year?

A: If you are happy with your current plan you do not need to reenroll every year. — Read Full Answer

 

 

 

Special Enrollment Q & A Home

 

Q: I did not enroll in Medicare when I turned 65 and was first eligible. Can I sign up later?

A: Yes, but only during specific enrollment periods. You can file online for Medicare during the general enrollment period (GEP) from Jan. 1 through Mar. 31 of each year. — Read Full Answer

 

Q: I am not retiring until age 70; do I still need to sign up for Medicare at 65?

A: Some people don’t need Medicare Part B because they are still working and covered by an employer’s plan or their spouse’s health plan. However, if you do not join Part B right away and you are not covered under another health care plan, you will have a late enrollment penalty for Part B coverage if you enroll later. — Read Full Answer

 

Q: I declined enrolling in Medicare Part B when I turned 65. I am now 67. Can I still enroll in Part B?

A: Yes, but only during specific enrollment periods. You can file online for Medicare during the general enrollment period (GEP) from Jan. 1 through Mar. 31 of each year. — Read Full Answer

 

Q: Why do some people enroll in Medicare Part B after they turn 65?

A: Some people don’t need Medicare Part B because they are still covered by an employer’s plan or their spouse’s health plan. — Read Full Answer

 

Q: I lost my drug coverage from my former employer. How long do I have to sign up for Part D prescription drug plan without getting penalized?

A: If the drug coverage you had was as least as good as Medicare’s you can enroll in a Part D plan without penalty if you don’t go 63 days or longer without drug coverage. — Read Full Answer

 

 

 

Late Enrollment Q & A Home

Q: I did not sign up for Medicare Part B when I first enrolled in Medicare age 65. How much is the late enrollment penalty for Part B?

A: Generally, a 10 percent premium penalty will be added to the Part B monthly premium for each 12-month period you could have enrolled but did not. — Read Full Answer

 

Q: I lost my drug coverage from my former employer. How long do I have to sign up for Part D prescription drug plan without getting penalized?

A: If the drug coverage you had was as least as good as Medicare’s you can enroll in a Part D plan without penalty if you don’t go 63 days or longer without drug coverage. — Read Full Answer

 

Q: I did not sign up for part D when I was first eligible. Is there a penalty?

A: Generally, the penalty for signing up late is an extra 1 percent of the national base Part D premium times the number of full, uncovered months that you were eligible but didn't join a Medicare drug plan and went without other drug coverage that was at least a good as Medicare's. You will have to pay the higher premium for as long as you have Part D. — Read Full Answer

 

 

 

Penalties Q & A Home

 

Q: How much is the late enrollment penalty for Part A?

A: If you aren’t eligible for premium-free Part A, and you don’t buy it when you’re first eligible, your monthly premium may go up 10 percent. — Read Full Answer

 

Q: How much is the late enrollment penalty for Part B?

A: Generally, a 10 percent premium penalty will be added to the Part B monthly premium for each 12-month period you could have enrolled but did not. — Read Full Answer

 

Q: How much is the late enrollment penalty for Part D?

A: Generally, a penalty of 1 percent per month will be added to the Part D monthly premium for each month you could have enrolled but did not enroll or have coverage at least as good as Medicare’s, also known as “creditable coverage.” — Read Full Answer

 

 

 


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