Medicare is a federally funded health insurance plan that currently insures 46.5 million people across the nation. Albuquerque is seated in Bernalillo County in New Mexico. Medicare spending in 2014 in Bernalillo County was $359 million. Residents of Bernalillo County who applied for Medicare benefits in 2014 were an average age of 68. The actual per capita costs for the same year were $7,283. When you compare that figure to the national per capita costs of $9,501, it’s easy to see that Bernalillo County is well below the national average. By contrast, the actual per capita costs in Bernalillo County increased by 22.8% from 2007 to 2014. As compared to the national average of only 8%, the county’s population is aging at a faster rate than the national average.
There are several ways to apply for Medicare in Albuquerque. Health insurance brokers are a good resource to learn the most current information about Medicare eligibility, plans, and services. Going through a health insurance broker will not cost you any more money than going directly through the Medicare program, because health insurance brokers don’t take a commission directly from their clients. Health insurance brokers receive commissions from the health insurance providers. Albuquerque residents may also easily apply for Medicare coverage online at the Medicare.gov site. Medicare applicants may also meet with Medicare counselors in person at the local Social Security office to get their questions answered or apply in person.
Most seniors will need to sign up for Medicare at the age of 65. The initial enrollment period begins 3 months prior to the 65th birthday and runs for a total of 7 months. Seniors should enroll in Medicare Part A, which is the hospitalization coverage, even if they don’t intend to enroll in Part B, which is the physician and medical insurance portion of the program. Seniors over the age of 65 who are still working and have access to an employer-funded health insurance plan may delay signing up for Medicare until they stop working. Those seniors will need to apply for Medicare within 8 months of leaving their employment. Seniors over the age of 65 should apply for Medicare Part B during the initial enrollment period if:
They have no other health insurance
They still have health benefits from a former employer but have retired, stopped working, or plan to stop working in the near future
They still have health benefits from their spouse’s former employer when the spouse has retired, stopped working, or plans to stop working in the near future
Are covered by COBRA insurance from a former employer
They have TriCare insurance which requires them to enroll in Medicare at age 65
They have a group health insurance plan from an employer with less than 20 workers
They purchased an independent insurance program on their own
They don’t qualify for Medicare Part A and have no other health insurance coverage
They are living, but not working outside the United States
It’s also important to remember that seniors will not receive any notice regarding when it’s time for them to sign up for Medicare benefits. It pays to take the time to better understand enrollment periods and plans to avoid costly penalty fees later on.
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