Medicare Resource Center - Columbus

Getting started with Medicare


Whether you’re new to Medicare, getting ready to turn 65, or preparing to retire, you’ll need to make several important decisions about your health coverage. If you wait to enroll, you may have to pay a penalty, and you may have a gap in coverage. Use these steps to gather information so you can make informed decisions about your Medicare:

 Learn about the different parts of Medicare

The different parts of Medicare help cover specific services. Medicare Part A (Hospital Insurance) covers inpatient hospital stays, care in a skilled nursing facility, hospice care, and some home health care. Medicare Part B (Medical Insurance)covers certain doctors' services, outpatient care, medical supplies, and preventive services.

 When you can get Medicare?

There are only certain times when people can enroll in Medicare. Depending on the situation, some people may automatically get Medicare and some people need to apply for it. 

The first time you can enroll is called your Initial Election Period.

 Your 7-month Initial Enrollment Period usually:

  • Begins 3 months before the month you turn 65
  • Includes the month you turn 65
  • Ends 3 months after the month you turn 65

If you don’t enroll when you are first eligible you may have to pay a Part B late enrollment penalty, and you may have a gap in coverage if you decide you want Part B later.

 Decide if you want Part A & Part B

Most people should enroll in Part A when they turn 65, even if they have health insurance from an employer. This is because most people paid Medicare taxes while they worked so they don't pay a monthly premium. 

Certain people may choose to delay Part B. In most cases, it depends on the type of health coverage you may have. Everyone pays a monthly premium for Part B. The premiums vary based on income and when you enroll in Part B. Most people will pay the standard premium amount of $135.50 in 2019.

Choose your coverage

If you decide you want Part A and Part B, there are 2 main ways to get your Medicare coverage — Original Medicare or a Medicare Advantage Plan (like an HMO or PPO). Some people get additional coverage, like Medicare Part D which is prescription drug coverage or a Medigap - Medicare Supplement plan. Most people who are still working and have employer coverage don’t need additional coverage. 

Learn More

You are not alone in this process. 

Everyday we help people like you understand Medicare and determine what plan is most suitable. There is not a "one size fits all" plan. 

Extra Help With Medicare Prescription Drug Plan Costs

The Medicare Prescription Drug program 

gives you a choice of prescription plans that offer various types of coverage.

You may be able to get extra help to pay for the monthly premiums, annual deductibles, and co-payments related to the Medicare Prescription Drug program. However, you must be enrolled in a Medicare Prescription Drug plan to get this extra help.