Questions on Medicare application for senior parent
Greetings to all forum participants,
I have several questions regarding Medicare application for my senior mother. She immigrated to the US in 2016 (she was 67 years old at that time) and I wanted to start buying Medicare for her but we were told that she has to wait 5 years to be eligible to buy Medicare.
This October, 2021 she will be in the US as permanent resident for 5 continuous years and she is eligible to apply for Medicare so we will be applying and have the following questions:
1. When I called local Social Security last week and explained my mother's situation, we were told that she can apply during January 1 - March 31 general enrollment period next year (2022) for Medicare coverage to start on July 1, 2022 . I am thinking maybe there was some misunderstanding since if she can apply when she is first eligible (October 2022) then why can't she apply during Annual Enrollment Period from October 15 to December 7 for coverage to start on January 1, 2022? If she can, I will be calling social security again to explain this.
2. There are Medicare late enrollment penalties for Part B/D premiums if someone applies not at 65 but at a later age. Even though my mother will be 72 when she first applies, I do not think these late penalties apply to her situation since at age 65 she was not even present in the US and also when she first immigrated to the US in 2016 she had to wait 5 years to be eligible to apply. So October, 2021 is the earliest time she is eligible to apply. Am I correct? And if I am, is there a way to point this out during Medicare application to make sure they do not apply these late enrollment penalties.
3. Finally, a question about income. In 2022 (when she hopefully will have Medicare coverage) I will be claiming her as a dependent on my tax returns (her own income is $0). During her Medicare application there is an income question (which I think is related to Income Related Monthly Adjustment Amount): should she give her own income or hers+mine income?
1. The dates are different because the different enrollment periods cover different circumstances and different people. Medicare is correct as to when your Mom can apply.
Annual (Open) Enrollment Period (October 15 - December 7) is open to currently enrolled beneficiaries and is a period of time when they can evaluate their current coverage to see if they need to change some parts of their coverage - specifically the "how they get their benefits" - Medicare Advantage plan choice AND/OR Medicare Part D - their Prescription Drug Plan.
General Enrollment Period Jan. 1 - March 31, with an effective date of coverage of July 1, is for people who have missed their initial enrollment period and do not qualify for the Special Enrollment period because they had other Medicare approved credible coverage.
You can also download the Medicare.gov - "Medicare and You" annual booklet - 2021 version is available online - it explains all the things that you may have questions about your mother's coverage.
As for your #2 question - she may not have a penalty for Part B & D IF she never got Medicare Part A - which is the premium free hospital coverage for most people because they have had Medicare Part A or HI (hospital insurance) payroll deductions during their entire and vested length work record. However, if she never worked under this US system, she will be paying for Medicare Part A (think that is $ 471 per month) + Medicare Part B $ 149.00 per month for most people and for her Medicare Part D plan and /or a Medicare Advantage plan which could have the Med D program of prescription drug coverage built in.
As for your question #3 - Since she will be your dependent, I am gonna guess that Medicare will want both incomes - yours and hers, if she has any. I say that because I do not know if people on Medicare who are not citizens can get any "extra help" and that is the reason for the question. There are many extra help benefits for Medicare beneficiary's who have very low income, some from the federal gov (SS) and some from the state - but the dependency classification throws another matter into the equation. If she were married, they would want the income of both so that is why I guess that way since she is gonna be your dependent. Why are you electing this dependent classification? Sponsorship?
Try performing the check function [ Find Out If You Qualify ] on this social security.gov page -
Either way, you are gonna have to ask them - most likely Social Security, not Medicare, since they are the ones that determine premiums in Medicare and federal extra help. Sorry, I just don't know. It might also be that some states offer extra help too - so check with them too.