Many questions come up with it comes to Medicare, let alone when you are under 65 and disabled. The steps of the things you need to do or the things you know are not quite as clear as you would like it to be. If you do not register everything within a window that the government provides, you could be penalized. The penalty will be costing you more money than you had expected. Someone who qualifies for SS Disability income has a waiting period of two years before eligible for Medicare A and B. This could be a long time to wait if you need insurance.
If you were gainfully employed, you would be offered coverage through your job. If you had to take a leave of absence as a result of the qualifying disability, you would have provided COBRA to extend the coverage you had from your previous employer. The COBRA option could let you pay for the health insurance for up to 18 months, and in some cases you can get 24 or 36 months, depending on the situation. That will buy you some time to transition to Medicare Disability.
If you fall short of the premiums due to cash flow for COBRA, there might be a chance you could qualify for Medicaid. Medicaid is a health program available through the state. They do have their own set of requirements to qualify. Refer to your state guidelines to apply. Then your health care will be a nominal cost to you, paid by the state.
Once you have met your two-year waiting period for disability to be eligible for Medicare coverage, you have a window to do other things to stay compliant. The government requires to have a Part D coverage; D is for Drugs. Original Medicare does not supply this except for inpatient medication. They give you a window of about three to four months to purchase a Part D. Typically it's the month of the start of Part B (provided by Original Medicare), and then 90 days after that month. If you do not sign up for a Part D, or equivalent, during this time frame, you will be penalized when you finally do sign up for it. Medicare requires this to allow more people to pay in order to control the cost for everyone.
If your state requires insurers to offer Medicare Supplemental insurance for the under 65 disabled, then you are allowed to apply with no underwriting involved during the same time frame. You will notice that the premium are much higher for those under 65 years of age than if you were 65 and older. Part of it is that you are on Medicare early because you have a disability, it means you are more likely to have more claims. Either way, you have an opportunity to apply for a plan that has to underwrite and take advantage of the lower rates without being screened for the health condition. However, in some states, like Indiana, does not require the insurance companies to participate in the under 65 disability market.
If you remain working and can maintain the insurance through the workplace, becoming eligible for Medicare A and B does not change anything. You can keep that coverage if you choose to. You will have to provide proof of qualifying coverage either then, or when you apply to gain Part D or qualifying coverage in the future if you ever did lose that health care coverage. Retain any supporting documents as necessary.
Some programs combine both Medicare Supplements and Part D in a program called part C, or Medicare Advantage. There are pluses and minuses to these. You need to do your homework before jumping into the program. Many can be restrictive and possibly more out-of-pocket for the year. However, it can be a good fit and save you money.
Transitioning to Medicare A and B and all the other items that attached to it can be confusing, but can become clear in the end. Taking the right steps and getting the right help can make all the difference in the world and save you money and time.