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Medicare and Turning 65: Answers to Your Most Important Medicare Enrollment Questions

Becoming eligible for Medicare and turning 65 introduces a whole new set of questions that you may not feel prepared to handle. Here are answers to common questions about Medicare enrollment, especially as it relates to turning 65.

When can I enroll in a Medicare plan?

Original Medicare (Parts A & B): The primary federal Medicare program is made up of two parts, which cover care and services like:

  • Hospital stays
  • Doctor visits
  • Medical equipment

Late Medicare enrollment in Parts A and B can lead to higher costs or fees.

Medicare Advantage (Part C): Medicare Advantage Plans are offered by private insurance companies. Many Medicare beneficiaries find them to be a cost-effective option as they get close to Medicare and turning 65. That’s because they include the coverage from Medicare Parts A and B, and often offer additional benefits, such as vision, dental, hearing, fitness, and prescription drug coverage. These plans differ by geographic area.

Prescription Drug (Part D): Medicare Parts A and B don’t include prescription drug coverage; it’s only offered through private plans. However, there are fees associated with not having prescription drug coverage while you’re enrolled in Medicare. You can join a standalone Part D Plan or a Medicare Advantage Plan with prescription drug coverage bundled (sometimes called MA-PD).

Learn more about the A, B, C, and Ds of Medicare.

Can I complete my Medicare enrollment online?

Yes. The Medicare Online Enrollment Portal offers 24/7 do-it-yourself enrollment for Medicare Advantage Plans, including side-by-side comparisons of plans from various insurance providers all in one convenient place. Individual insurance providers may also offer the ability to enroll in their plans online but you’ll only be able to compare their plans. Don’t have Original Medicare yet? No problem. You can apply for Medicare Parts A and B online through the Social Security Administration.

Get more details about Medicare as well as helpful resources in this helpful guide, Making Sense of Medicare Enrollment.

What are the costs of a Medicare plan?

Medicare Part A typically has no premium, while Medicare Part B does. Medicare Advantage Plans may have premiums as low as $0; you continue to pay your Part B premium while enrolled in a Medicare Advantage or Part D Plan. It’s important to note your premiums may be higher if you’re late enrolling in Part B or Part D.

You may be eligible for Extra Help or other Medicare cost assistance, especially if you’re also eligible for Medicaid.

Get Help with Medicare Enrollment

Transitioning to Medicare and turning 65 can be a stressful time. We’re here to take the frustration and complexity out of a very important stage in your life. Our Medicare Advocates are standing by to help you find, evaluate, and enroll in a Medicare plan that’s right for you. Call 1-800-991-4407 / TTY 711 today for your no-cost consultation, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday.