How Can I Enroll in Medicare and Medicaid?

dual eligible beneficiaries can enroll in Medicare and Medicaid to lower healthcare costs

Medicare and Medicaid are two programs that make it easier for Americans to access affordable healthcare. Each has its own benefits to offer, and these benefits are magnified when combined. Yes, some people are eligible for both programs. The enrollment process is easy, but first, you need to make sure you qualify, and then you can explore specific options like a Dual Special Needs Plan.

How Do I Enroll In Medicare?

Most folks can enroll in Medicare when they turn 65, or the three months before their 65th birthday. This is part of the Initial Enrollment Period that every person has—which lasts until three months after the month you turn 65.

If you miss your Initial Enrollment Period, you’ll need to wait until the General Enrollment Period (January 1 to March 31) to enroll.

If you receive Social Security or Railroad Retirement Board benefits, your enrollment is automatic. You’ll have your Medicare card in the mail three months before your 65th birthday, with coverage effective on the first day of the month you turn 65.

You’ll also be automatically enrolled if you’re under 65 and are receiving disability benefits for at least 24 months.

How Do I Enroll In Medicaid?

Medicaid’s eligibility is tied to income and/or disabilities. Different states have their own standards for qualification based on Modified Adjusted Gross Income (MAGI)—so benefits may vary. If your earnings are higher than this, you won’t be able to get Medicaid. However, you may be able to qualify if the state considers you medically needy. Here, you subtract your medical costs from your income to make yourself eligible for Medicaid.

The enrollment is simple—you reach out to your state’s local Medicaid contact center. They will walk you through the process. Another option is to apply through the Health Insurance Marketplace.

Why Enroll In Both?

Receiving Medicare and Medicaid can help lower your healthcare costs. It’s a convenient way to get everything in one place. Typically, Medicare will pay for health services first, and Medicaid will cover any differences up to payment limits. As a result, some dual-eligible beneficiaries may be left with nothing to pay out of pocket.

One plan worth noting is the Dual Eligible Special Needs Plan (D-SNP), a type of Medicare Advantage (Part C) plan. It’s exclusive to individuals who qualify for Medicare and Medicaid. You get to keep all your current Medicare and Medicaid benefits, plus access to others such as dental, vision, and hearing (and maybe more).

Get More. Save More.

At Carolina Senior Benefits, we help you get the healthcare benefits you need and deserve. Whatever you’re eligible for, we’ll help you get it at the lowest available cost. Let us help you today—call (704) 765-4689 to reach a licensed agent.