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Am I eligible for Medicare health coverage?

    Medicare is health insurance for individuals age 65 or older, as well as other individuals who meet certain qualifications. You must also be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident of the United States.

    But is turning 65 the only requirement to be eligible for Medicare? No. In fact, to be eligible for Medicare Part A, you need to have been working and paying Medicare taxes for at least ten years, or your spouse must have been paying Medicare taxes for at least ten years. Suppose you are receiving retirement benefits from Social Security or the Railroad Retirement Board or are eligible to receive Social Security or Railroad Retirement Board benefits but have not filed for them yet. In that case, you may also qualify for Medicare when you turn 65. 

    You may also qualify if you are under age 65 and have been entitled to Social Security or Railroad Retirement Board disability benefits for at least two years. If you have Lou Gehrig’s disease, then your Medicare insurance benefits can start the first month that you get your disability benefits. 

    Unfortunately, many individuals do not find that the Original Medicare covers all of their medical needs.

    How can I pay for additional medical insurance that I need?

    Medicare Supplement Insurance Plan C, also known as Medigap, is a health insurance plan that covers all of the gaps in your Part A and Part B that you would be required to pay.  there are numerous benefits to getting Medicare supplement plan C, also known as the Medicare Advantage plan, covering:

    • Your Medicare Part A deductible
    • Your Medicare Part B deductible
    • Your Medicare Part A coinsurance and hospital costs
    • Your Medicare Part B copayments

    Maybe the preferred specialist that you’ve seen for chronic conditions for several years is not in your plan, or maybe you just have more medical needs. You know that your healthcare expenses will be higher, so you want to get adequate coverage so you are not left with exorbitant fees that you cannot pay on a fixed retirement income. Choosing a Medicare Advantage Plan may be the best option for getting the comprehensive care you want and filling in the “gaps” in your Part A and Part B coverage. You will need to speak to a licensed insurance agent about which is the best Medicare Plan C for you.

    Medigap plans are attractive to beneficiaries because you can qualify for them even if you have a pre-existing condition. You can join, switch, or drop a Medicare Advantage Plan during your Initial Enrollment Period, General Enrollment Period ( January 1—March 31) or the Open Enrollment Period ( October 15—December 7).

    Choosing Your Medicare Health Coverage Plan

    Insurance Professionals of Arizona remind individuals shopping for health insurance that the decisions they make about their health insurance provider can have serious effects on their access to care and the quality care they receive. The authorized representative or licensed insurance agent that you work with should take their time getting to know you. Only after knowing what you want should they offer to show you the best options. Many offer free consultations to learn more about your health concerns and what plans are available.