Hi Charlotte, My retirement issues....as well as my friend's might help you understand the ins and outs of Government....a little more clearly.
First....my friend Tara... Lived in Pa, and was disabled at a young age in her 30's. ( issues with Ulcerative Colitis/ Ostomy & Diabetes)
She was "disabled " when she moved to Fla, and received benefits there, ( about $900 a month.) plus medicare. ( state's version of medicaid) .as well as 100% coverage through a state provider of surgical & drug supplies ( She had a partner, who passed away, but they never married, and Fla does not recognize common law).
When she became too ill a few years ago, her sister moved her here ( to NJ) where we both live. When Tara reached age 65. she was automatically swiched to Medicare ( which only covers 80% of Medical. She had to "purchase" the related state approved supplemental insurance ( Blue Cross/ Blue Shield / Horizon / appropriate for those who are on Medicaid). It's very complicated... EVERY STATE HAS IT"S OWN RULES and NAMES for the SAME THINGS!!!
Everyone in the country is elegible for Medicare at 65, even if your official retirement age is 66/and a few months.
My story is a bit different. I was fully employed until I began having medical issues that kept me from working. When I qualified for Disability, I began to receive benefits, but I had to wait 2 years, before being elegible for Medicare. I think I was 58 when I qualified. At age 65 I I was autimatically switched into the Medicare program....and had to purchase supplemental insurance to cover the 20% medicare doesn't cover.....and the drug plan that I could afford. My drug bills are very high ( insulin is expensive) and prior to medicare I was paying about 50% of my drug bills out of pocket. That was about 10,000 a year. Now that I'm on official "Medicare", I pay about $5,000 out of pocket for the year.
Be aware that the Government doesn't stand by what you are told on the phone ( regarding $$$$ Medicare/ Medicaid benefits ) unless you have a scheduled appointment....( phone or in person) to document what they tell you. I found that out the hard way. So be aware! Sorry this is so long.. but it's a complicated issue. One has to know the right questions to ask, to get the answers you need/ want!!
Best of Luck to you Marsha