Medicare is an important safety net for U.S. seniors, but this government health insurance program is complicated at times. Here are some of the more common questions regarding Medicare:

Will I be enrolled automatically in Medicare when I turn 65?

Americans who sign up for Social Security before age 65 should be enrolled automatically in Medicare when they reach seniority. This enrollment is in Medicare parts A and B and enrollees should receive their card three months before their 65th birthday. Those not enrolled in Social Security should take steps to enroll in Medicare—or face a lifetime late-enrollment penalty.

Do people still working need to sign up?

If you or your spouse is still working at a company with 20 or more employees, the employee health plan may serve as the primary coverage, while Medicare is secondary coverage. Seniors do not have to sign up for Medicare at 65, and there is no late-enrollment penalty as long as enrollment happens within eight months of leaving a job and losing work-based coverage.

Do enrollees need to renew Medicare coverage annually?

No, as long as any necessary premiums are paid, Medicare coverage should automatically renew every year. Seniors on Medicare Advantage or stand-alone Medicare Part D prescription drug plans may have to personally renew coverage if that plan is discontinued.

How much does Medicare cost?

Most enrollees who paid Medicare taxes for more than 30 quarters don’t pay a monthly premium for Medicare Part A. Seniors who did not pay enough Medicare taxes may pay up to $437 each month in 2019. Medicare’s standard Part B premium amount for 2021 is $148.50, but some seniors with higher income may have to pay more. Most enrollees have their Part B premium deducted from their monthly Social Security benefits.

Can Medicare Advantage plans be free?

Some Medicare Advantage plans available in certain areas may have a $0 monthly premium. This “free” plan exists because Medicare subsidizes Medicare Advantage plans with Part B premiums. A $0 monthly premium occurs if the Medicare Advantage plan premium is exactly the same as the Medicare Part B premium. Medicare Advantage plan enrollees generally still have to pay their Medicare Part B premium, however.

Do I need Medigap insurance?

Medicare only pays 80 percent of medical expenses, and enrollees must still pay deductibles and co-payments. Most people buy a Medigap policy to help cover those costs, as well as Part D prescription-drug coverage because Medicare usually doesn’t cover drugs.

How much Is the Medicare late-enrollment penalty?

Medicare may charge a late-enrollment penalty for seniors don’t enroll in Medicare programs or plans when first eligible. In some cases, the late-enrollment penalty may be as high as ten percent of the plan premium.

To Get Medicare Advantage or Medicare Supplemental Quotes:

There are licensed insurance agents who can provide a quote on available plans. To get started, please call 1-877-775-7322 or complete the contact form and a licensed insurance agent will contact you to review your options and assist you with enrollment.

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