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As you get closer to your 65th birthday, it’s important to start considering your options for Medicare coverage. This time in your life can seem overwhelming, but The Medicare Helpline can help you better understand your options and determine what coverage is right for you.
You are eligible for Medicare if:
- You’re turning 65. Three months before your 65th birthday, you are eligible to enroll in Original Medicare (Part A and Part B), and this Initial Enrollment Period extends to the three months following your 65th birthday.
You’ve been diagnosed with ESRD or ALS. For individuals with End-Stage Renal Disease (ESRD), in some cases, Medicare benefits can start during the first month of dialysis. More often, they take effect 90 days after a course of regular dialysis or kidney transplant.
For those with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), Medicare benefits can begin at the same time you start collecting Social Security Disability benefits.
- You’re younger than 65, but have a disability. If you’ve been receiving Social Security Disability for two years, you also automatically qualify for Medicare coverage.
Options for Coverage Gaps
Original Medicare (Part A and B) only cover about 80% of healthcare costs. As such, you will want to be informed on alternatives to mitigate out-of-pocket expenses.
A popular alternative to Original Medicare, Medicare Advantage plans are provided by private companies and often include additional benefits such as coverage for vision, dental, hearing, prescription drug, and wellness programs.
Medicare Supplement Plans—also known as Medigap Insurance—these plans are standardized at the state level and can help cover the cost of co-payments, deductibles, coinsurance, and more.