New to Medicare

New to Medicare?

If you’re new to Medicare, you probably have a lot of questions. We can help you understand your options and find a plan that best meets your needs and allows you to keep your doctors and hospital. We’ll also be there for you through the entire enrollment process. Our agents are here to help, and there is never a fee for our service.

Medicare is a federal health insurance program for individuals age 65 and over or under 65 with certain disabilities. There are four parts to Medicare – Parts A, B, C and D.

Part A helps to pay for hospital, skilled nursing care, home healthcare and hospice care. In most cases, if you had a Medicare deduction from your paycheck while you were working, you will not have a Medicare Part A premium. When you’re first eligible for Medicare, you have a seven-month initial enrollment period to sign up for Part A and/or Part B.

Part B helps to pay for physician services, outpatient services, durable medical equipment and other medical services. When you’re first eligible for Medicare, you have a seven-month initial enrollment period to sign up for Part A and/or Part B. You are required to have both Part A and Part B in order to purchase a Medicare Supplement or a Medicare Advantage plan.

Part C refers to Medicare Advantage plans. These plans incorporate your Part A, Part B and often Part D – Prescription Drug coverage – into one plan.  Medicare pays a private insurance company to provide your healthcare coverage with a Medicare Advantage plan. These plans must, at minimum, provide the same level of coverage as Original Medicare and may include a monthly plan premium. Medicare Advantage plans often include additional benefits not offered by Original Medicare.

Part D refers to Medicare Prescription Drug coverage. People with Original Medicare and a Medicare Supplement will need to purchase a Medicare Part D Prescription plan separately. For people joining a Medicare Advantage plan, a Medicare Prescription plan is often included with the Medicare Advantage coverage. You should note that if you decide to enroll late for Part D Prescription Drug coverage, a penalty may be assessed.

There are two main ways to get your Medicare coverage: Original Medicare or a Medicare Advantage plan. Use these steps to help you decide which way to get your coverage.

Medicare Basics

The Medicare initial enrollment period is a seven-month period that begins on the third month before you turn age 65 and ends the third month past your 65th birthday. If you sign up for Medicare Part B during the initial enrollment period, there is no late enrollment penalty. However, for Part B coverage to start by your 65th birthday, you must sign up during the three months prior to your birthday (Note: If you become eligible for Medicare due to a disability, your eligibility begins on the 25th month of receiving Social Security Disability Insurance).

When you sign up for Medicare Part B, you automatically begin your Medicare Supplement open enrollment period. The Medicare Supplement open enrollment period lasts for six months after you are age 65 and enrolled on Medicare Part B. During this period an insurance company cannot deny you any Medicare Supplement policy it sells, cannot make you wait for coverage to start, and they may not impose a pre-existing condition.

During the Medicare open enrollment period, also known as annual election period, Medicare beneficiaries are able to add, drop or change Medicare Advantage or Part D Prescription Drug plan coverage. The open enrollment period runs between October 15 and December 7. Medicare beneficiaries must complete their Medicare Advantage and Part D Prescription plan changes by December 7. If you’re turning 65 or have moved, you can enroll throughout the year during a special election period.


Medicare Advantage and Part D Prescription Drug plans released with new premium and benefit design information for the coming year.

October 15

Medicare open enrollment period begins. Medicare Advantage and Part D Prescription Drug plans begin accepting applications for the upcoming plan year.

December 7

Medicare open enrollment period officially ends. The last day Medicare Advantage and Part D Prescription Drug plans are able to accept applications for the coming plan year.

January 1

Medicare Advantage and Part D Prescription Drug plans become effective for the new plan year.

January 1 – March 31

This is the Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period (OEP). You can make a one-time annual change of Medicare Advantage plan or cancel Medicare Advantage and return to Original Medicare. If returning to Original Medicare, you have option of choosing a standalone Medicare Prescription plan. Please Note: If you intend to return to Original Medicare and apply for a Medicare supplement, OEP does not guarantee Medicare supplement coverage. Under most circumstances, you must pass insurer underwriting if applying for a Medicare supplement.


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