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:
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.