How Far In Advance Can You Sign Up For Medicare?

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Along with officially becoming a young at heart “senior citizen” and receiving some fun perks and discounts, turning 65 also means you are now eligible for Medicare. This federal program provides coverage for a number of valuable senior care services, including preventive healthcare, prescription medications, and more. The professional team of board-certified physicians at Health Services of North Texas (HSNT) is dedicated to providing comprehensive senior care in Collin and Denton counties. Use this helpful information to get a better idea of when you may be eligible for Medicare enrollment and what options you have for senior healthcare in Plano, Denton, and Wylie, TX.

What age qualifies for Medicare?

Patients 65 years of age and older are eligible for healthcare coverage under the federal Medicare program. Some exceptions are made for patients under 65 who have certain disabilities or underlying conditions, such as end-stage renal disease or ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease). Patients under 65 who have already claimed Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) for two years may also be eligible for early enrollment in Medicare.

When is the enrollment period for Medicare?

Generally speaking, patients have a seven-month enrollment period during which they can apply for Medicare coverage. The Medicare enrollment period opens on the first day of the month, three months before your 65th birthday, and closes three months after the month you turn 65. It is important to understand that the Medicare Open Enrollment Period, which usually falls in the latter part of the year, does not allow patients to apply for Medicare for the first time. Instead, this period offers current Medicare patients an opportunity to reevaluate their plans and, if desired, make adjustments to their coverage.

What if I miss my Medicare enrollment period?

It is critical that patients plan accordingly so that they do not miss their respective Medicare enrollment period, which lasts for three months before and after their 65th birthday. Applying for Medicare after the enrollment period closes can lead to significant penalties. These fees increase each month after the enrollment period ends and will be applied to patients’ premiums permanently, which can make coverage exponentially more expensive than it would have been if it were obtained during the enrollment period. The knowledgeable team at HSNT is available to help patients understand how and when to enroll in Medicare in North Texas as they approach age 65.

Make sure you know when to enroll in Medicare if still working

Because many people now continue to work after the traditional retirement age of 65, you may have questions about how your employer-provided insurance will be impacted once you are eligible for Medicare. For men and women who are still working at age 65 and have insurance coverage through their employer, there are no penalties for applying for Medicare at a later date, once the current coverages run out or their employment status changes.

Does Medicare cover senior care?

Medicare, which is broken up into several different parts (Part A, Part B, etc.), provides coverage for some of the most essential healthcare needs for seniors, including:

  • Preventive screenings for cancers, cardiovascular disease, and more
  • Lab tests
  • Imaging studies
  • Vaccines and immunizations
  • Yearly well visits
  • Prescription drugs
  • Hospital care
  • Outpatient care
  • Home healthcare services
  • Hospice care
  • Medical equipment and supplies

Certain tests and services, such as custodial care, are not covered under Medicare.

If you’re 65 or older and have Medicare in North Texas, get the comprehensive senior healthcare you deserve

At all of Health Services of North Texas’ convenient locations in Plano, Denton, and Wylie, TX, we are proud to accept most major Medicare plans to ensure you get the reliable and personalized senior care you deserve. To learn more about the comprehensive senior services we provide, call your nearest HSNT location to schedule a consultation with one of our board-certified physicians today. We look forward to keeping you healthy and vibrant during this exciting new season of life!