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Oregon provides this information to help you understand Medicare before you turn 65. Even if you continue to work or are not receiving Social Security, you need to know about Medicare to avoid penalties in your Medicare coverage.
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Medicare is the federal health insurance program for people age 65 and older. Certain people younger than age 65 can qualify for Medicare, including those who receive Social Security Disability Income and those who have permanent kidney failure. Because Medicare is health insurance, you share the costs of your care.
Traditional Medicare is also called Original Medicare or “Fee-For-Service" Medicare. This federal program starts with Part A hospital insurance and Part B medical insurance. For most people, Original Medicare Part A and Part B is a starting point for assembling more complete coverage.
Your initial enrollment period is the seven months surrounding your 65th birthday. In this period, you can enroll in Parts A, B, C, and D. Your seven months are:
If you receive Medicare due to Social Security disability, your Parts A and B automatically start in your 25th month of disability income. The initial enrollment for Parts C and D starts in the 21st month and ends in the 28th month.
Note: If your birthday falls on the first day of a month, you start Medicare a month early. Your enrollment period moves up a month, as well. Example: If your birthday is Jan. 1, you can start Medicare on Dec. 1. You can sign up as early as Sept. 1. See Medicare Deadlines.
If you receive your red, white, and blue Medicare card in the mail, you will be set up to start Parts A and B beginning the first of the month you turn 65. You must decide:
Note: Unless you qualify to delay enrollment in Parts B and D, you could face lifetime penalties later for not enrolling during the seven-month period surrounding your 65th birthday.
Some people who are actively working and have insurance (but not COBRA) can delay enrollment in Parts B and D without a penalty. However, if you don't qualify for a penalty-free delay, you will pay higher premiums for the rest of your life. Key points:
If you decide to delay enrollment in Part B, your Welcome to Medicare packet contains an explanation on how to do this. If you delay enrollment in Part B, Part D, or both, you have enrollment deadlines soon after your employer-provided coverage ends. Check the deadlines page for specific information.
If you get incorrect enrollment information from federal officials (Social Security or Medicare) and you documented the conversation (date, time, name of person you spoke with, and the key information provided), you may get “equitable relief" from any resulting problems or penalties.
If you get information from any other sources – whether it is insurance agents, human resources benefits administrators, volunteer counselors, or news articles – you may not be able to fix the problem. Example: You missed the deadline to enroll in Part B because someone other than Social Security erroneously said you didn't need it. You probably will have a lapse in coverage and be stuck with the lifetime penalty.
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