Medicare is federal health insurance for the following:
When to Apply
You can apply for Medicare during the seven month period beginning three months before, the month of, and three months after your birthday month. If you are already receiving Social Security you will be automatically enrolled and will receive your Medicare card about three months prior to your birthday and you will be given the option of turning down Part B coverage.
It is best to sign up early to avoid delay in coverage. To have Part A and/or Part B the month you turn 65, you must sign up during the first three months before the month you turn 65.
For more information go to www.medicare.gov and click on the tab “Sign Up/Change Plans”. On that same website in the search area in the upper right-hand corner enter 11036 to view the publication “Enrolling in Medicare Part A and Part B”.
The different parts of Medicare help cover specific services
Part A (Hospital Insurance) helps cover:
Part B (Medical Insurance) helps cover:
Part C (also known as Medicare Advantage)
Medicare Advantage Plans are a type of Medicare health plan (like an HMO - Health Maintenance Organization or PPO – Preferred Provider Organization). These plans are offered by private insurance companies approved by Medicare to provide both Part A and Part B coverage and many times offer additional benefits. Once you enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan you are no longer enrolled in Original Medicare (Part A & B).
The additional benefits offered in a Medicare Advantage plan may include, vision, dental, or wellness programs and most include prescription drug coverage. The plan may require you to only see doctor’s on the plan’s list. The rules for these plans can change each year.
Part D (Prescription Drug Coverage) helps cover:
Medicare Prescription drug coverage is offered to everyone with Medicare. It is optional however if you decide not to join a Medicare drug plan when you’re first eligible, and you don’t have other creditable prescription drug coverage you’ll likely pay a late enrollment penalty if you join later. This penalty will stay with you forever.
Medicare prescription drug plans are run by private insurance companies that follow rules set up by Medicare. Each year during Annual Open Enrollment (Oct 15th thru Dec 7th) you should review your plan to insure that you have the best coverage.
*** Part D Prescription Drug Plan Finder: www.medicare.gov/plan-compare
Medicare Supplement Insurance (also known as a Medigap policy)
Original Medicare (Part A & B) pays for much, but not all, of the cost for covered health care services and supplies. Medicare Supplement Insurance policies, sold by private companies, can help pay some of the remaining health care costs that Original Medicare doesn't cover like copayments, coinsurance, and deductibles.
Insurance companies can sell you only a “standardized” Medigap policy identified by letters A through N. All policies must offer the same basic benefits, so cost is usually the only difference but some companies will offer additional benefits.
**** View pdf chart comparing the current authorized Medicare Supplement Plans