When it comes to Medicare, there are many misconceptions about it. Some of the elderly go to the Social Security Administration to apply but end up getting asked a lot of questions and are told to come back again next year. What could have happened?? To help you get a better idea, we’ve come up with a list of the top four misconceptions and clarify each one, one by one.

Myth #1: Once you turn 65, you’ll automatically be registered for Medicare.

You must apply for Medicare at least three months before you turn 65. The government will not notify you to apply. If you miss the deadline, you can get fined! If you are a KCAL client, KCAL will call you three months before your 65th birthday to remind you to apply for Medicare.

Myth #2: I haven’t worked for ten years yet so I can’t apply for Medicare when I turn 65.

Anyone who is a United States citizen or green card holder who has legally stayed in the United States for at least five years is eligible to apply for Medicare three months before they turn 65. If you or your spouse have worked for more than ten years (at least 40 working quarters), then you will be able to get Part A services without paying premiums. If you have not fulfilled that many working quarters, then you will have to make those payment fees accordingly. During the application process, the Social Security Administration will let you know on the spot what your status is based on your situation. To apply for Medicare, you will need to have your Social Security Number (SSN) along with valid identification (passport, citizenship, or green card). If you are applying for your spouse, then you must also bring your marriage certificate.

Myth #3: “I can apply for Medicare whenever I want, any time, any day”

Individuals must apply for Medicare three months before they turn 65. If you missed this deadline, then you have one last chance to apply! You can apply from 1/1 – 3/31 which is the General Enrollment Period. During this time, you can apply at the Social Security Administration office, and it will become effective on July 1. Before it becomes effective, please contact your insurance agent because you will still need to choose additional plans that cover the remaining 20% based on your health condition and budget.

Myth #4: Once you receive your Medicare card, you’re good to go! There’s nothing else to worry about.

Under the 2006 regulations, individuals who had Medicare benefits were required to purchase Medicare to avoid getting fined. Since Part A and Part B only cover 80% of your premium, you will need to choose an HMO or PPO plan for the remaining 20%. If you have any questions regarding Medicare including the eligibility criteria, enrollment period, premium costs, change in doctors, and more, please feel free to reach out to KCAL or check out our Medicare page.

Q: How is the premium determined? What is it based off of?
Individuals who have worked 40 working quarters will not have to pay the premiums for Part A. The Part B premium is determined by the Form 1040 from two years ago.  Those with higher incomes would have to pay higher premiums. This year’s premium is around $134, paying at most around $428.60 per month.

Q: I am insured under my employer’s health insurance, do I still need to apply for Medicare?
A: If your company provides health insurance, then you can continue to use their health insurance until you retire. If you already received your pension, then the insurance card will be sent to you automatically. Individuals who are eligible or almost eligible for Medicare can contact KCAL Insurance Agency for more information to see what kind of information you need to provide and what additional information is required.

Q: Is moving considered a qualifying life event that would allow me to change insurance plans?
A: No. Unless your existing insurance does not cover the city your new home is located in, then you will not be able to change your plan.

If you still have any unanswered questions, or want to learn more about Medicare, KCAL Insurance Agency is hosting multiple Medicare seminars from February to June this year. There will be seminars held in all of our KCAL locations, including Hacienda Heights, Irvine, San Gabriel, Cerritos, and Diamond Bar. Find a location near you! Please refer to the picture below for seminar dates and times. For more information regarding these seminars or inquiries regarding Medicare, please feel free to call KCAL Insurance Agency’s toll free number at 1-800-681-8288, or send an email to info@kcal.net.