The Social Security Administration (SSA) administers Medicare, a national health insurance program. You are automatically eligible to sign up for coverage when you are 65 years of age.
You may qualify for benefits, however, if you have a qualifying disability or condition. You can sign up for Medicare if you are about to turn 65 years old, receive Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), have End Stage Renal Disease (ESRD) or have have amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).
If you receive SSDI benefits, the SSA will automatically sign you up for coverage on your 25th month of receiving benefits.
Otherwise, you will need to enroll during your initial enrollment period. There are four types of Medicare plans, and each has different coverages, including:
• Part A helps cover your inpatient care, such as at a hospital or skilled nursing facility. It can also pay for hospice and home health care. This plan is free for most people who have worked at least 10 years.
• Part B helps pay for outpatient care, like routine and preventive services from doctors and other health care professionals. It can also pay for durable medical equipment when needed.
• Part C combines Part A and Part B and adds prescription drug coverage and additional benefits. These Medicare plans word like typical employer-based insurance since insurance companies, not the government, provide this coverage option.
• Part D helps cover the cost of prescription drugs only.
If you have a disability or are struggling financially, you might be able to receive monthly payments from the SSA.