MEDICARE is the federal health insurance program for people who are 65 or older, younger people who have disabilities and people with end stage renal failure.
Medicare Part A (Hospital Insurance)
Part A covers inpatient hospital stays, care in a skilled nursing facility, hospice care and some home health care.
Medicare Part B (Medical Insurance)
Part B covers certain doctors' services, outpatient care, medical supplies and preventative services.
Medicare Part D (Prescription Drug Coverage)
Helps cover the cost of prescription drugs (Including many recommended shots or vaccines).
Original Medicare does not pay/cover everything. Beneficiaries can pick up a Medicare Supplement Insurance called Medigap. This supplemental plan can help pay for some of the extra health care costs, like copayments, coinsurance and deductibles. Some Medigap policies can cover services that Original Medicare doesn't cover, like emergency care when traveling outside the U.S.
Medicare Part C (Medicare Advantage)
Is a Medicare approved plan from a private company that offers an alternative to Original Medicare for your health and drug coverage and in most cases offers extra benefits such as; vision, hearing and dental services which Original Medicare doesn't cover.
When can you enroll in a Medicare Plan?
Initial Enrollment Period (IEP)
If you're enrolling in Medicare for the first time, you have an IEP that begins three months before and ends three months after you turn 65. It begins and ends one month earlier if your birthday is on the first of the month.
You may enroll in Part A, Part B or both. You may also choose to enroll in a Medicare Advantage Plan (Part C) or a prescription drug plan (Part D). Although you are not required to enroll in Part D there is a penalty of 1% of the average monthly premium for each month you delay enrollment.
Annual Enrollment Period (AEP)
October 15- December 7
If you qualify, you can add, drop or switch your Medicare coverage.
Special Election Period (SEP)
You may be eligible to change your Medicare Advantage (MA) plan due to special circumstances, like being diagnosed with a qualifying chronic health condition, moving to a new area, qualifying for Extra Help, or retiring and losing your employer coverage.