San Diego Medicare Eligibility and Enrollment
It is important for you to understand exactly when you are eligible to enroll in Medicare. The following page will outline the initial enrollment period for Original Medicare and the process to enroll in Original Medicare. We will then dive into how you can add to your Original Medicare Parts A and B by enrolling in either Supplement Insurance or an Advantage plan. At the end we will walk through how to enroll in a plan that will cover the costs for your prescription drugs.
When am I eligible for San Diego Medicare?
You are eligible for Original Medicare Parts A + B if you are at least 65 years old.
... or if you are under 65 and specially qualify because of a disability.
... and you are a U.S. Citizen or legal resident.
... and you have been living in the United States for at least 5 years straight.
When you turn eligible for Medicare you are also eligible to enroll in Supplement Insurance plans, Advantage plans, and Part D Prescription Drug plans all through the Medicare system.
Medicare Initial Enrollment Period
Your Initial Enrollment Period or IEP is 7 months long. This period includes your birthday month, the 3 months prior to your birthday month, and the 3 months after. During this time you can enroll in Original Medicare through medicare.gov and you can choose to enroll in Part A, Part B, or both. I always suggest you join both to cover your future medical expenses and avoid any penalties for not joining. During these 7 months you can also join a Medicare Advantage Plan (also called Part C) or a Prescription Drug Plan (Part D). Supplement Insurance is also available for you to choose from during this Initial Enrollment Period.
*Note: The IEP begins and ends 1 month earlier if you are born of the 1st of the month.
Medicare Annual Enrollment Period and Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period
The Annual Enrollment Period runs from October 15th through December 7th.
At this point you can add, drop, or switch your medicare coverage.
The Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period runs from January 1st through March 31st.
If you are currently enrolled in an Advantage plan, you may dis-enroll from this plan as well as switch to a new Advantage plan. You may only make a change once during this period each year.
Special Enrollment Period
Depending on your circumstances, you may be able to enroll in a Medicare plan outside of these months listed above. Here are a handful of ways you may qualify for a Special Enrollment Period:
- Retire and lose your employer coverage
- Move out of your plan's service area
- Receive Assistance from the state
- Have been diagnosed with certain disabilities
- Have been diagnosed with a chronic health condition
- Qualify for Extra Help
San Diego Medicare Choices Made Easy
Step 1 is to enroll in Original Medicare Parts A and B through Medicare.gov. This process is often as easy as answering a few questions and selecting your enrollment. However, many people are not able to enter the site for a few days if not weeks. Furthermore, it takes the Medicare team at the Social Security Offices a few weeks to create and send you your medicare number. Complete step 1 early in your 7 month initial enrollment period to ensure you do not run out of time.
Step 2 is to decide whether or not you need additional coverage in the form of Supplement Plans, Advantage Plans, and Part D Prescription Drug plans.
Supplement Plans provide excellent nationwide health coverage. However, these plans do not provide prescription drug coverage so they are often paired with a Part D Prescription Drug plan.
On the other hand, you could select an Advantage plan that bundles your health coverage with drug coverage and often dental and vision benefits as well.