Enrolling in Medicare is a process laden with some duality. For example, all persons aged sixty-five and older are automatically enrolled in Medicare, provided they meet specific qualifying conditions. Automatic enrollment is highly convenient, and the process helps many U.S. senior citizens receive the healthcare they need and might otherwise not be able to afford without the program.
This automatic enrollment process is not without its limitations and guideline requirements, however. Enrollment in parts A and B is automatic for people who meet the age requirements. Enrollment in Medicare Part B has an option to be deferred, however. This is because Part B requires premiums to be paid out-of-pocket, whereas Part A essentially does not.
How does the U.S. Social Security Services (SSA) play a part in Medicare enrollment? Your Social Security Number (SSN) is assigned to you at birth and stays with you your entire life. Your SSN helps you receive your paychecks, establish, and receive credit and pay your taxes.
Medicare recipients are required to have properly paid their taxes during their working years to fully qualify for the program. If you paid your taxes, you will be eligible when you turn sixty-five. If you did not pay your taxes and do not have a qualified disability or other reasons to not have done so, you face potential disqualification from the Medicare program.
The SSA and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) work together to bring Medicare benefits to qualified enrollees. Part A is mostly free for qualified enrollees who paid their taxes and who are aged 65+. Medicare Part A is also free for qualified disabled enrollees. Medicare Part B is not free for all applicants, however. The Part B plan requires out-of-pocket premiums and other expenses to be paid by enrollees. How much does Medicare Part B require to be paid out-of-pocket? The answer to this question depends on your:
- Tax records.
- Current income (fixed or otherwise).
- Qualified disabilities.
- Additional criteria.
Enrolling in Medicare Part B might be optional, but this option comes with certain restrictions and program requirements. Many people choose to opt out of Part B plans because of the requirement to pay so many expenses out-of-pocket. Delaying enrollment in Part B causes penalties to be incurred, however, if you choose to enroll in it later. For example, Part B monthly premiums increase on a perpetual basis, increasing in amount the longer you delay enrollment in the plan.
Additional Medicare enrollment and requirement information includes the following:
- Original enrollment periods.
- Open enrollment periods.
- Special enrollment periods.
- Proof of age.
- Proof of qualifying disabilities.
- Proof of income and records as a U.S. taxpayer.