Speak with a licensed sales agent
1-800-991-4407 / TTY 711
10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Eastern, Monday to Friday

Prepare for Retirement with These 5 Medicare Enrollment Tips

medicare-enrollment-retirement-tips

Retirement should be a time to celebrate but Medicare enrollment can be stressful if you don’t know the right questions to ask, where to get clear answers, and how to make sure you’ve identified and evaluated all of your options. Follow these five tips and you’ll be celebrating in no time.

  1. Find out if you’ve been automatically enrolled in Original Medicare.
  2. If you’re turning 65 and are already getting Social Security benefits, you’re most likely already enrolled in Original Medicare, specifically Medicare Parts A and B. It’s always a good idea to double-check your Medicare enrollment status by contacting Social Security. If you’re not enrolled, you’ll have to manually apply. You can apply for Medicare Parts A and B online at the Social Security website, call Social Security at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY: 1-800-325-0778), or head over to your local Social Security office.

  3. Understand what Original Medicare does, and doesn’t, cover.
  4. It’s important to know what’s covered by Medicare Parts A and B prior to Medicare enrollment to be sure it’s sufficient for your needs. Medicare Part A covers inpatient hospital care, skilled nursing, hospice and eligible home healthcare. Medicare Part B covers outpatient services, including doctor visits, medical equipment, lab tests, ambulance services, and preventive services. Be aware that Original Medicare doesn’t include hearing, vision, dental, or prescription drug coverage.

  5. Identify coverage gaps based on your actual needs.
  6. Retirement is a time of major changes in your lifestyle and budget. You’ll have to weigh these factors against the essential benefits and services you need to maintain your health. That’s why many retirees choose a Medicare Advantage Plan because, not only does it cover everything in Medicare Parts A and B, many also provide dental, vision, hearing and prescription drug coverage in a single convenient plan. This helps you keep things simple and affordable while getting all the care you need.

  7. Evaluate all your options.
  8. There are many factors you’ll want to compare when evaluating Medicare plans. Here are three important aspects to make sure you look at closely:

    • Your Physicians—Saving a few dollars may not be worth losing the ability to see your childhood doctor. Make a list of all your current providers, so you can make sure they’re in-network for whatever plan you choose.
    • Your Medications—Prescription drug coverage is a major concern for many retirees. Whether you enroll in a Prescription Drug Plan separately or as part of a Medicare Advantage Plan, it’s helpful to make a list of all your medications and keep it handy when you’re comparing plans. Depending on your income, you may also be eligible for Extra Help.
    • Your Costs—You’ll want to compare the premium, primary and specialist copays, deductible and prescription drug costs across the plans available in your area. Some Medicare Advantage plans offer $0 premiums, copays, and deductibles, but you must continue to pay Medicare Part B premiums. If you have both Medicaid and Medicare, you may be Dual Eligible and qualify for Medicare Savings Programs that help lower costs.
  9. Complete your Medicare Enrollment on time to avoid penalties.
  10. Medicare enrollment periods vary depending on your age and other circumstances. It’s important to enroll on time to avoid paying fees or higher costs, maybe even cause a gap in your coverage. If you’re new to Medicare and turning 65, your Medicare Initial Enrollment Period begins three months before and continues three months after your 65th birthday.
    Also, there are certain circumstances that may make you eligible for a Medicare Special Enrollment Period, for example you’ll be losing coverage through your employer upon retiring.

Get Help with Your Medicare Enrollment

Trying to gather and sort through all the important details needed to successfully complete your Medicare enrollment can be overwhelming and stressful. We designed our convenient Medicare Online Enrollment Portal to make your research and plan comparisons quick and easy.
Licensed agents can help but, keep in mind, they often represent a single provider, so you may not get a complete picture of all the plans available to you. Retirement is all about relaxing, so another option to give you peace of mind is to contact our Medicare Advocates. We’re available to help you find, compare, and enroll in a good-fit Medicare plan without all the stress. For assistance, call 1-800-991-4407 / TTY 711 from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. ET, Monday through Friday.