Charo Boyd Column: Apply for Medicare Before Retirement Benefits Start | Opinion

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You can apply for health insurance online even if you are not ready to start your retirement benefits. Applying online is quick and easy. There are no forms to sign and we generally do not need additional documents. We will process your request and contact you if we need more information.

Knowing when to apply for health insurance is very important. You must apply during your limited initial registration period. If you are eligible for Medicare at age 65, your initial enrollment period begins three months before your 65th birthday and ends three months after that date.

If you miss your initial enrollment period, you may have to pay a higher monthly premium. Visit www.ssa.gov/benefits/medicare to apply for health insurance and find other important information.

If you were unable to enroll or opt out of Medicare because you were unable to reach us by phone after January 1, 2022, you will be granted an extension until December 30, 2022. This extension applies to the 2022 General Enrollment Period, Initial Enrollment Period and Special Enrollment Period.

Some people who receive Medicare benefits may get additional help with their Medicare prescription drug plan costs, including monthly premiums, annual deductibles, and co-payments. To qualify for additional assistance, you must have Medicare, have limited resources and income, and reside in one of the 50 states or the District of Columbia.

Read our publication Understanding the Extra Help with Your Medicare Prescription Drug Plan for more information at www.ssa.gov/pubs/EN-05-10508.pdf.

The Medicare website has answers to your questions and other helpful resources, including:

• What does Medicare cover? Find out at www.medicare.gov/what-medicare-covers.

• Where can I find forms to file a claim with Medicare? Visit www.medicare.gov/claims-appeals/how-do-i-file-an-appeal to learn more.

• How can I let someone else speak to Medicare on my behalf? To learn more, go to www.medicare.gov/claims-appeals/file-an-appeal/can-someone-file-an-appeal-for-me.

• How much do Medicare health and prescription drug plans cost in my area, and what services do they provide? See www.medicare.gov/plan-compare.

• Which doctors, health care providers, and suppliers participate in Medicare? See www.medicare.gov/forms-help-resources/find-compare-doctors-hospitals-other-providers for answers.

• Where can I learn more about a Medicare (Part D) drug plan and enroll? Visit www.medicare.gov/drug-coverage-part-d/how-to-get-prescription-drug-coverage.

• Where can I find a Medicare Supplement Insurance (Medigap) policy in my area? Find the answers at www.medicare.gov/medigap-supplemental-insurance-plans.

Please share these helpful resources with your friends and family today.

Charo Boyd column is published every other Monday in The Herald Bulletin.

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