Signing up for Medicare can be a headache. There is just so much information to sort through that it all becomes tangled and messy. However, it does not have to be that way. In fact, the following tips will help you get it all sorted out quickly.

Don’t Delay in Enrolling

The enrollment process into Medicare is usually automatic. Three months prior to your 65th birthday you will receive a packet of information. Even though some people delay receiving their social security payments until they are aged 66 or older, Medicare requires that every person over the age of 65 be enrolled in a Medicare Approved Health Plan. That means choosing Medicare Part A and Medicare part B or Going with the Medicare Advantage plans known as Medicare Part C.

Learn the Terms

Basic terms are as follows:

  • Medicare Part A is Original Medicare and is used to cover inpatient hospital stays and treatment.
  • Medicare Part B works only with Medicare Part A and it completes the healthcare coverage as it is used to cover outpatient health care such as doctors visits, therapists, and equipment such as walkers.
  • Medicare Part C is the same as Medicare Part A and Part B, except that it is run through private insurance companies such as Kaiser, Blue Cross, and others.
  • Medicare Part D is a prescription drug insurance, and it can refer to both Medicare Part A and B or Medicare Part C. Sometimes, with Medicare Part C the part D is included in the package.
A Medicare Supplemental Plan or Medigap Plan is designed to work only with Medicare A and B. This is a supplemental insurance plan the helps to pay for most of what Medicare Part A and Part B do not cover. It will help to pay for copayments, out-of-pocket expenses and deductibles.

Avoid the Penalties

You have to have a Medicare approved health plan in place before you turn age 65. There are no exceptions to that rule. Medicare Part A will be your primary insurance, even if you are still working and covered by an employer health plan. In fact, your employer health plan will likely stop providing coverage. Some employees continue to receive coverage for through their employer or union for health care that is covered under Medicare B. However, if that coverage should lapse before you sign up for Medicare B you may be assessed a penalty.

Relax Your Choice is not Permanent

Even though Medicare uses the term Open Enrollment, it is anything but open. The changes you make today are not permanent. You can change them during the year, but only during special enrollment periods, such as the Medicare Disenrollment period. Medicare makes it easy to change your mind, but they restrict you to making those changes to just a small window of time throughout the year. Each enrollment or enrollment period has its capabilities. During the Disenrollment period, you can leave a Medicare C plan and go back to Medicare A and B, but you cannot change between Medicare C plans during that time.

As you get ready to dive into all of that Medicare information that you have received, remember that Connect One Health is here to help you. We provide free advice by phone or online. So if you have questions, just call us.