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Two Catches for Medicare Benefits

Riddle Brantley LLP   |  June 16, 2015   |  

There are two catches to your ability to participate in Medicare:

First, you must wait two years from the date you become eligible to receive monthly SSD benefits before you can participate in the Medicare system.  For that reason, we advise all our clients to KEEP any existing health insurance they have, at least until they win their SSD case.  For example, many of our clients are able to participate in their spouse’s employer-provided health insurance during that two-year waiting period, even if it means paying for the coverage under the COBRA law.

Also, the SSD system moves so slowly that by the time a claimant has gone through the application and appeal process and appeared before a judge who awarded disability benefits, the two-year waiting period has usually passed and the person is eligible for Medicare immediately.

Currently, the average time it takes from the filing of an initial application to a hearing before an administrative law judge and the judge’s award of benefits is close to two years.

The second catch is that the disabled person must continue to pay monthly insurance premiums (usually a relatively small amount) for Medicare coverage.  In most instances, if the person elects to be covered by Medicare, a monthly deduction is taken from the benefit check to pay those premiums.