What is Medicare?

Medicare is a Federal health insurance program for people 65 years or older, certain people with disabilities, and people with permanent kidney failure treated with dialysis or a transplant. Medicare has two parts - Part A which is hospital insurance, and Part B which is medical insurance.

Who is Eligible for Medicare Part A (Hospital Insurance)?

To qualify for Medicare Part A, you must be:

  • 65 or older; or
  • Disabled and receiving disability benefits from Social Security or the Railroad Retirement Board for 24 months; or
  • Have permanent kidney failure treated with dialysis or a transplant

If you have worked at least 10 years in Medicare covered employment you will qualify for premium free

Medicare Part A (Hospital Insurance).

You should contact the Social Security Administration at 800-772-1213 to file an application.

I Receive Social Security Disability Checks - Am I Eligible for Medicare?

You are eligible for Medicare Part A (hospital insurance) if you are under 65 and have been getting Social Security or Railroad Retirement Disability checks for more than 24 months. You may also enroll in Part B (medical insurance) for a standard monthly premium of $144.60 for new Medicare beneficiaries in 2020.

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

If you are receiving Social Security or Railroad Retirement or disability benefits, you will be automatically enrolled in Medicare Part A and Part B. About 3 months prior to your 65th birthday or 24th month of disability, you will be sent an Initial Enrollment Package that will contain information about Medicare and your red, white and blue Medicare card. If you want both Medicare Part A (hospital insurance) and Part B (medical insurance), you should sign your Medicare card and keep it in your wallet. If you don't want Part B coverage, you must put an X in the refusal box on the back of the Medicare card form; sign the form and return it with the card to Social Security at the address shown. You will then be sent a new Medicare card showing that you only have Part A.

How, when, and where do I sign up for Medicare when I turn 65 if I am not yet receiving Social Security benefits?

Some people are not automatically enrolled in Medicare. You need to file an application if you are:

  • Eligible for Social Security or Railroad Retirement benefits but have not yet signed up for them;
  • have permanent kidney failure treated with dialysis or a transplant; or
  • are not eligible for Premium Free Part A;
  • or are a government employee who is not eligible for Social Security or Railroad Retirement benefits.

You can apply online through the Social Security Administration website, http://www.ssa.gov or go to your local Social Security Office. Social Security will take your application, determine if you are eligible for Medicare and send you a Medicare card.

I Didn't Enroll in Medicare Part B When I Turned 65 Because I Was Still Working. Can I Enroll Now?

You qualify to enroll in Medicare during a Special Enrollment Period if you delayed enrolling in Part B because you were working and had group health insurance through your employer or your spouse's employer. If you sign up during the Special Enrollment Period, you do not have to pay the Part B premium surcharge. Signing up for Medicare Part B will begin your 6 month open enrollment period for buying a Medigap policy. You can enroll in Part B: any month in which you are still covered under your current enrollment; or the 8-month period beginning with either the date your employment ends or the date your group health plan ends, whichever comes first.

You should contact the Social Security Administration at 1-800-772-1213 to file an application. You can download the required forms through Medicare.gov. Fill out an Application for Enrollment in Part B (CMS-40B) and a Request for Employment Information (CMS-L564). Get the Application for Enrollment in Part B (CMS-40B) in Spanish. Get the Request for Employment Information (CMS-L564) in Spanish.

How can I get a replacement Medicare card?

You can call the Social Security Administration at 800-772-1213, contact your local Social Security Office, or log in to your My Social Security Account to get a replacement Medicare card. Make sure you have your Medicare number ready when you call. You should receive your new card in about four weeks.

What are Medicare Advantage plans (Medicare Part C)?

Medicare Advantage plans are various health plan options available to Medicare beneficiaries as an alternative to Original Medicare Parts A & B. A Medicare Advantage plan may also encompass Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Coverage.

What is Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Coverage?

Medicare offers prescription drug coverage to everyone with Medicare through Medicare Part D. If you decide not to join a Medicare Prescription Drug Plan when you're first eligible, and you don't have other creditable prescription drug coverage, or you don't get Extra Help, you'll likely pay a late enrollment penalty.

To get Medicare drug coverage, you must join a plan run by an insurance company or other private company approved by Medicare. Each plan can vary in cost and drugs covered.

From Oct. 15 to Dec. 7 each year, you may purchase a Medicare Part D drug plan. If you choose not to enroll and do not have credible coverage under another plan, you will pay a penalty at the time you do enroll. Information is available at 1-800-Medicare, www.medicare.gov or Senior Health Insurance Counseling for Kansas, 1-800-860-5260.

Medicare Part B does cover some drugs in certain cases such as immunosuppressive drugs (for transplant patients) and oral anti-cancer drugs. You should call your Part B MAC for more information.

What is a Medigap policy?

Supplemental insurance policies are sometimes called Medigap plans. Medigap plans are private health insurance policies that cover some of the costs the Original Medicare Plan does not cover. Some Medigap policies will cover services not covered by Medicare such as Foreign Travel Emergencies. Medigap has 10 standard plans called Plan "A" through Plan "N". Each plan covers basic benefits and an expanding list of additional benefits. Your State Insurance Department can answer questions about the Medigap policies sold in your area.