Whether you’re enrolling for the first time, qualify for a Special Enrollment Period or just want to look around before Annual Open Enrollment, we can offer personal guidance to help you feel confident in the choices you make.
- Do I Need to Apply for Medicare?
- Will I Get Medicare Automatically?
- I'm Turning 65 & Have Applied for Medicare
- Once You’re Enrolled
- Changes to Your Plan
- I've Experienced a Major Life Event. Can I Change Plans?
- Contact Information
Medicare can be complex. If you’re approaching your 65th birthday, you’re probably already experiencing information overload. However, before you can make a plan selection you must first confirm your eligibility for Medicare Benefits. Most people are eligible for Medicare when they turn 65. Some people will get Medicare automatically, and some must apply for Medicare.
If you are already getting Social Security retirement or disability benefits (or Railroad Retirement benefits) when you turn 65 you will be enrolled in Medicare Parts A and B automatically. You should receive a welcome packet and your Medicare card in the mail from the Social Security Administration approximately three months before your 65th birthday.
If you are not yet collecting retirement benefits, then you need to contact Social Security to apply for Medicare. You do not get Medicare automatically. If you are not ready to start receiving retirement benefits, you can opt out of the cash retirement benefits and just apply for Medicare. It is best to apply three months before your 65th birthday. Once you are enrolled, Social Security will send you a welcome packet that includes your Medicare card.
Once you’re enrolled in Medicare, your next step is to compare plans. You have a seven month Initial Enrollment Period when you first turn 65. The Initial Enrollment Period begins three months before you turn 65, the month of your 65th birthday, and continues for 3 months after your birth month. During this time, you can enroll in Part D Prescription Coverage, a Medicare Advantage Plan or a Medicare Supplement. This is where we come in! Let us help you compare cost and coverage differences between plans, so that you can choose what works best for you.
If you’re already enrolled in Medicare and want to make changes, or just compare plans, you can take advantage of the annual Medicare Open Enrollment period that starts October 15th and ends November 7th. During this time, you can change to a different type of Medicare plan, switch Medicare Advantage plans, or change your prescription drug coverage. However, if you’re happy with your current plan and it continues to meet your needs for the next year, there’s nothing you need to do!
You can also make changes to your Medicare Advantage and Medicare prescription drug coverage when certain events happen in your life, like if you move or you lose other insurance coverage. These chances to make changes are called Special Enrollment Periods. There are many different types of Medicare Special Enrollment Periods available and different qualification standards for each. The length of the Special Enrollment Period and the effective date of your new coverage will vary depending on the circumstances.
Picking a plan is an important and personal decision. When comparing plans, you should consider things like cost, coverage and benefits, but also physician and hospital choices, pharmacy choices and travel. Only you can determine what mix of benefits and costs will work best for you and your budget, but we can help. No matter your Medicare needs, we are here to help. Give Jeane a call at 740-773-4181 or email her at jeane [at] tomlinsonins [dot] com.