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Medicare FAQs

Yes! You can have private insurance, Medicare, and Medicaid at the same time.  If you have all three, they are typically billed in this order:

  1. Private Insurance
  2. Medicare
  3. Medicaid

If your private insurance is from an employer, the size of the employer can change this billing order. Medicaid is always the ‘payer of last resort.’

Yes! You can have private insurance, Medicare, and Medicaid at the same time.  If you have all three, they are typically billed in this order:

  1. Private Insurance
  2. Medicare
  3. Medicaid

If your private insurance is from an employer, the size of the employer can change this billing order. Medicaid is always the ‘payer of last resort.’

If you are approaching age 65, you can enroll in Medicare on the Social Security website.  

You will have a 7-month window around your 65th birthday in which you can enroll: 3 months before you turn 65, the month you turn 65, and 3 months afterward. 

Prior to enrolling, you can visit Medicare.gov for useful information and a list of providers who take Medicare.  You can compare drug plans by visiting the Medicare Plan Finder

Once eligible for Medicare, you can make changes to your plans during the Medicare Open Enrollment Period, which occurs mid-October through early December. If you experience certain life changes, you may have other times when you can make a change.

When eligible for SSDI, SSCDB, or SSDWB, you must wait 24 months, starting from the first month you are entitled to receive a cash benefit, before Medicare will begin.

While waiting for Medicare to start, you may consider applying for Medicaid (Apple Health), so that you have health coverage during the 24-month waiting period.

Once you wait 24 months, Social Security will automatically enroll you in Medicare Parts A and B. 

Social Security will not automatically enroll you in a Medicare Part D plan. You can shop for a prescription drug plan that meets your needs through the Medicare Plan Finder

If you receive Medicaid, you cannot decline Part D. If you do not choose a prescription drug plan, the state will choose one for you. 

Once eligible for Medicare, you can make changes to your plans during the Medicare Open Enrollment Period, which occurs mid-October through early December. If you experience certain life changes, you may have other times when you can make a change. If you receive Medicaid, you can change your drug plan at any time.

If you do not pay your monthly premium for a while, some prescription and health plans may choose to drop you from their coverage. 

People who receive Medicare through SSDI, SSCDB, or DWB may be concerned that their Medicare will end if they stop receiving a Title II cash benefit due to their work. In reality, there are two Medicare work incentives which allow you to keep Medicare even if you lose your Title II due to work, as long as you continue to have a disability. 

  1. Extended Period of Medicare Coverage (EPMC) – you may receive Medicare for at least 93 months after your Trial Work Period ends. For many people, the period is much longer.
  2. Premium Health Insurance for the Working Disabled – after the EPMC ends, you can continue to receive Medicare if you pay a monthly premium. You can “buy” Medicare indefinitely, if you continue to have a disability.

If you have low income and resources, you may qualify for Medicare Savings Plan (MSP). Depending on which Plan you are eligible for, you may receive assistance with Part A, Part B premiums, coinsurance, and deductibles.

If you receive Medicaid and Medicare, you will automatically be eligible for an MSP.

You may receive a lot of information from Medicare about enrollment and coverage, and from independent companies who want you to enroll in their Advantage Plan. It can be overwhelming for many people.

If you need guidance, you can contact SHIBA (Statewide Health Insurance Benefits Advisors). SHIBA offers free, unbiased help with Medicare. 

For a list of resources that may provide assistance, check out our Get Help page.

Learn all about Medicare and Medicaid through the training series, A Look at Medicaid and Medicare.

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