What Exactly Is Medicare?
Medicare is health insurance for adults over the age of 65. You can sign up for Medicare for the first time three months before you turn 65. If you have a handicap, End-Stage Renal Illness (ESRD), or ALS (commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s disease), you may be eligible for Medicare sooner.
Managing COBRA and Medicare
You have COBRA coverage and haven’t signed up for Medicare yet.
- Sign up for Medicare when you reach the age of 65 to avoid coverage gaps and a monthly Part B late enrollment penalty.
- If you had COBRA before enrolling in Medicare, it will most likely expire after you enroll.
You got COBRA coverage after you signed up for Medicare.
- COBRA pays after Medicare (unless you have End-Stage Renal Disease).
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Retiring At 65
You’ll sign up for Medicare within 8 months after your workplace insurance stops.
Generally, you’re first eligible to sign up for Part A and Part B starting 3 months before you turn 65 and ending 3 months after the month you turn 65.
- Your 8-month Special Enrollment Period to sign up for Part B starts when you stop working, even if you choose COBRA or other coverage that’s not Medicare.
- If you lose your job-based health coverage before you or your spouse stop working, you have 8 months to sign up.
Getting Medicare The Month After You Retire
If you want Medicare coverage to begin the month after your job-based health insurance expires, you must enroll in Part B the month before you or your spouse expect to retire.
Your coverage will begin the month after the receipt of your completed documents by Social Security (or the Railroad Retirement Board). You’ll need to fill out an additional form proving that you or your spouse had job-based health insurance while working.
Where To Sign Up
To apply for Medicare, contact Social Security. You have the option of enrolling in both Part A (Hospital Insurance) and Part B. (Medical Insurance). Make an application for Social Security benefits (or the Railroad Retirement Board). You will automatically receive Part A once you begin receiving benefits. When you apply for benefits, you’ll be asked if you want Part B.