FAQs: Your Medicare Questions Answered

You’re turning 65 and you know it’s time to enroll in Medicare. But where do you even start? There’s so much information out there, and it all seems a little daunting, right? Well, never fear! We’re here to answer some of the most frequently asked Medicare questions so that you can move forward with confidence.

What is Medicare?
Medicare is a health insurance program for people 65 and older, people under 65 with certain disabilities, and people of any age with end-stage renal disease.

What does Medicare cover?
Original Medicare (Part A & B) covers hospital stays, doctor visits, some preventive services, and some out-of-pocket costs. Medicare Advantage plans (Part C) must cover everything that Original Medicare covers except hospice care (although they may offer extra coverage like vision or dental). Prescription drug coverage (Part D) can be added to any of these plans.

How do I enroll in Medicare?
If you’re already receiving benefits from Social security or the Railroad Retirement Board, you’ll automatically be enrolled in Part A & B starting the first day of the month you turn 65. If you’re not receiving benefits, you can enroll online at www.socialsecurity.gov or by calling 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227). TTY users should call 1-877-486-2048.

When can I enroll in Medicare?
You have a 7-month initial enrollment period to sign up for Part A & B starting 3 months before the month you turn 65, includes the month you turn 65, and ending 3 months after that month.
Note: If you wait until after your initial enrollment period ends to enroll in Part A & B and try to buy a policy later, you may pay a late enrollment penalty for as long as you have Part A & B.
You can also sign up for Part C & D during this time.

Can I enroll in a Medicare Advantage Plan if I have Original Medicare?
Yes! You can switch from Original Medicare to a Medicare Advantage plan (and vice versa) during specific times during the year:
• September to December: You have from October 15 – December 7 each year to switch from one plan to another or drop your coverage altogether for the following year. This is known as the annual Enrollment Period or AEP. Keep in mind that if you drop your old coverage outside of this time frame and try signing up for a new plan later on, you may pay a late enrollment penalty for as long as you have Part A & B.

Making the decision to enroll in Medicare is an important step in ensuring your health and wellbeing as you age. But it can also be a confusing process with lots of moving parts. Hopefully this article has provided some clarity and answered some of your questions. But if not, don’t hesitate to reach out to us so we can help get you the information you need!

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