Re: COLA Increase???
Kimmie, if you are receiving SSI, you should already have Medicaid insurance, and a list of doctors would have come in the mail. Even if you only get $1 of SSI, you would still get Medicaid.
If you were approved for SSDI only (from your work record), you will qualify for Medicare after 2 years and 5 months from your onset date. Since you were approved on the first try, looks like you may have long wait if you received only SSDI.
I don't think you have to apply for either of them, they just "happen". Medicaid is free. Medicare Part B costs $96.40 each month in 2009, which is taken out of my check before I get it.
If you want better insurance than Medicare, you can buy a Medicare Advantage plan from various companies, or a prescription plan, or a Medigap plan to fill the "donut hole". There are literally thousands of plans to supplement Medicare, and it is very confusing. But you may come out better keeping plain old Medicare. Each person has to look at their yearly medical expenses, and find the plan that helps them the most. I bought the more expensive Blue Advantage plan with no doctor copay, because I go to the doctor often. My son kept plain Medicare, because he rarely goes to the doctor.
I actually did a spreadsheet of my 2008 medical bills and estimated how much each plan would cost me out-of-pocket. My ex-employer's "free" plan would have been over $2000 more costly for me due to their deductibles and copay's. Basic Medicare would have cost me only $200 more.