Florida has the same federal laws governing Original Medicare as any other state does. If you plan to enroll in Original Medicare while living in Florida, you can follow the same procedure as you would in another U.S. state.

In Florida, there are currently over 4 million people who are receiving Medicare benefits either through Original Medicare or a Medicare Advantage policy. Because of the large number of Medicare beneficiaries living in this state, the Florida state government has some extra programs aimed at helping seniors. Here is a look at how these Medicare programs work in Florida and how you can enroll in Medicare while living there.

How does Medicare work in Florida?

As in every state of the United States, in Florida the U.S. Social Security Administration automatically enrolls you in Original Medicare Part A (hospital insurance) three months before the month of your 65th birthday.

If you wish to sign up for Medicare benefits with Part B (medical insurance), a Medicare Advantage (Part C) plan, Medicare Supplement insurance, or a Prescription Drug Plan, you must do so yourself. You can use your initial enrollment period (IEP) to sign up without paying a penalty. Your IEP is a seven-month period that begins three months before your birth month the year you turn 65. It includes the entire month that includes your 65th birthday and continues for three months beyond the end of your birth month. If you miss your IEP, you still have opportunities to enroll during the annual General Enrollment Period which runs from January 1st to March 31st. Your coverage begins on July first if you enroll during the General Enrollment Period.

You can enroll for these Medicare programs either through the Social Security’s online site, over the phone with a Social Security agent, or in person at your local Social Security office.

If you are not yet 65 years old but have been receiving Social Security benefits for 24 months due to disability or end-stage renal disease, you are also entitled to Medicare benefits. After 24 months of receiving Social Security benefits, the SSA enrolls you automatically in Original Medicare Parts A and B. If you do not wish to have Part B, you must contact the SSA to cancel this part of your coverage.

What special programs are available for Medicare beneficiaries in Florida?

With well over 4 million people using Medicare health care benefits in Florida, the state wants to provide special programs to assist the elderly. Available all across the state, the Florida Department of Elder Affairs manages a special senior health program called Serving Health Insurance Needs of Elders (SHINE). Anyone who is enrolled in Medicare is welcome to sign up and visit one of the offices across the state to ask questions regarding health care and Medicare.

The Department of Elder Affairs is also responsible for the administration of programs aimed at helping the over 65 population. This primary state agency promotes well-being and works hard to help Medicare recipients remain in their own homes. The agency also runs instructional and informational programs based on health and health care services. Some of their programs include:

• The Alzheimer’s disease initiative.
• The Elder Helpline that provides information and assistance.
• A program for community care for the elderly.
• Health and wellness programs.

You can find more information about when and where these programs take place in your community by phoning the Department of Elder Affairs in Florida.

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