Enrollment Windows

Parkinson’s patients should apply for Medicare benefits as soon as possible. Gaps in medical insurance coverage can occur during the extended amount of time it can take to process an SSDI application, especially if an appeal is involved. Once you become eligible for Medicare, you must choose the coverage options that will best suit your healthcare and budgetary needs:

  • Part A – Hospitalization: Eligibility is automatic on the day you turn 65 years of age. If you are disabled and under age 65, eligibility is automatic 24 months after the date of your SSDI or RRB disability.
  • Part B – Medical: Eligibility is automatic on the day you turn 65 years of age. If you are disabled and under age 65, eligibility is automatic 24 months after the date of your SSDI or RRB disability. If, for whatever reason, you did not get signed up for Part B when you first became eligible, you can enroll during a General Enrollment Period, from January 1 through March 31 of each year.

If you failed to enroll because you or your spouse had group coverage through employment, you can enroll during a Special Enrollment Period. You may be assessed a late-enrollment penalty for failing to enroll in Part B when first eligible to do so.

  • Part C – Medicare Advantage Plans:: Eligibility is automatic on the day you turn 65 years of age. If you are disabled and under age 65, eligibility is automatic 24 months after the date of your SSDI or RRB disability date. Your window for first time enrollment is generally three months before you turn age 65, the month of, and three months after your eligibility date.
  • Part D – Prescription Drugs:: Eligibility is automatic on the day you turn 65 years of age. If you are disabled and under age 65, eligibility is automatic 24 months after the date of your SSDI or RRB disability. Your window for first time enrollment is generally three months before you turn age 65, the month of, and three months after your eligibility date.

You can also buy a Part D plan during the Annual Coordinated Election Period, which runs each year from November 15 through December 31. During this period you may change prescription drug plans or add a drug benefit. Also, there are certain specific situations which qualify for a Special Enrollment Period which allow you to enroll outside of the Annual Coordinated Election Period without penalty.

  • Medigap for Parts A and B: For most, the initial enrollment period is the six-month period beginning the day you turn age 65 and are enrolled in Part B Medicare. For those under age 65 receiving Medicare due to disability, Medigap policy availability is limited.
  • Changing Plans: After your initial Medicare enrollment, each fall you can – and should – review your healthcare and prescription needs to see if you would benefit by switching to a plan that is better suited to your current medical or budgetary needs.

You may switch to another plan each year during the regular Annual Election Period which extends from November 15 through December 31. Your new plan will be effective as of January 1.

If you wind up being unhappy with your choice in plans, you can make limited changes to your coverage between January 1 and March 31 so long as you do not add or drop prescription drug coverage.

 

Content for this section provided by Allsup, Inc. and Mark Rubin, J.D.

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