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The Requirements for Enrolling in Medicare Parts B and D

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As you may expect, the different parts of Medicare come with different rules for eligibility as well as for coverage and costs. The following are some checklists of the conditions you need to meet to qualify for Part B (medical insurance), and Part D (prescription drug coverage) at age 65.

Even if you don’t qualify for premium-free Part A, you may still be eligible for Part B and Part D coverage at age 65; therefore, if you don’t sign up for them at the right time, you may set yourself up for permanent late penalties.

Medicare Part B

You can receive Part B benefits at age 65 or older if you’re a U.S. citizen or a legal resident (green card holder) who has lived in the United States for at least five years, you’re enrolled in Part B, and one of the following is true:

  • You pay a monthly premium — either the standard Part B premium ($104.90 a month in 2013) or more if your income is high enough to require a surcharge.

  • Your Part B premium is paid by your state.

Medicare Part D

You can receive Part D benefits at age 65 or older if you’re enrolled in Part A, Part B, or both; you enroll in a stand-alone Part D drug plan or a Medicare Advantage plan that provides Medicare prescription drug coverage; and one of the following applies to you:

  • You pay the monthly premium that your plan requires.

  • Your Part D plan premium is paid by the Extra Help program or a State Pharmacy Assistance Program.

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