If you are turning 65 soon or need a better understanding of Medicare, you may have a lot of questions. How do I sign up? What is the best option for me? What about prescriptions? What is an Advantage plan? At CHI Health, we welcome individuals with Medicare coverage and want to help you understand how Medicare works and what your options are for coverage.
Eligibility for Medicare
Become eligible at age 65. You don’t have to be retired or collect Social Security to receive Medicare. You may also become eligible before age 65 if you have a permanent disability or end-stage renal disease.
Medicare includes Parts A and B, C and D. These parts are grouped into Original Medicare and Medicare Advantage. Original Medicare covers much – but not all – of your care and has deductibles and coinsurance. Medicare Advantage is considered an “all-in-one ” alternative to Original Medicare and has separate premiums. It’s easy to get overwhelmed by the complexities of Medicare, but help is available. For more info go to medicare.gov or call 1-800-633-4227.
It’s important to note that you wont be notified when it is time to sign up for medicare. Follow these enrollment period guidelines:
Initial Enrollment Period - 3 months before or after your 65th birthday. This is when most individuals enroll in Medicare for the first time.
General Enrollment Period: Jan. 1 – March 31. If you didn’t sign up for Part A and/or Part B during the Initial Enrollment Period, you can sign up during General Enrollment. Your coverage won’t start until July 1 of that year, and you may have to pay a higher Part A and/or Part B premium for late enrollment.
Special Enrollment Period (SEP) - Medicare allows for enrollment anytime during the year when certain life events occur – some examples of such circumstances include leaving a current employer’s sponsored health plan, a relocation to a new area or your qualification for Medicaid or Extra Help changes.
Annual Election Period (AEP): Oct. 15 – Dec. 7. Already have Medicare? Medicare’s Annual Election Period is the time when all Medicare beneficiaries are able to change their Medicare participation options for the upcoming calendar year.
Welcome to Medicare Visit
Don’t miss your “Welcome to Medicare” Preventive Visit--it’s free within the first 12 months of enrolling in Medicare Part B. Your “Welcome to Medicare” Exam Includes:
- Screenings, flu and pneumococcal shots and care referrals, if needed
- Height, weight and blood pressure measurements
- Body mass index calculation
- Simple vision test
- Depression and safety risk review
- Written plan of future screenings, shots and other preventive services
- Discussion, if desired, about creating advance directives