Medicare & The Process
How do I sign up?
Those receiving Social Security are automatically enrolled in Parts A and B unless coverage is declined. If you don't have qualifying coverage from an employer plan, you'll pay an ongoing late enrollment penalty of 10% of the Part B premium for every 12 months you delay signing up and 1% of the average Part D premium for every month you delay signing up for Medicare drug coverage.
Enroll in Original Medicare
Original Medicare: Provided by the federal government and comes in two Parts.
- Medicare Part A: Helps pay for hospital stays and inpatient care
- Medicare Part B: Helps pay for doctor visits and outpatient care
- Starts 3 months before the month you turn 65
- Ends 3 months after your birthday month
- Including your birthday month it gives you a 7-month window
- You can sign up for Original Medicare through the Social Security Administration.
3. or local Social Security Administration office
Decide what additional coverage you need. There are two ways to get it offered by private companies:
Option 1 - Add one or both of the following to Original Medicare
- Medicare Supplement Insurance Plan (also referred to as Medigap) - Helps pay some of the out-of-pocket costs that come with Original Medicare Parts A and B.
- Medicare Part D Plan (prescription drug plan) - Helps pay for prescription drugs
- Combines Part A (hospital) and Part B (medical) in one plan
- Usually includes prescription drug coverage (satisfying Part D requirement)
- May offer additional benefits not provided by Original Medicare
Part A (hospital insurance) - Helps pay for hospital stays and inpatient care
Part B (medical insurance) - Helps pay for doctor visits and outpatient care
Part D (prescription-drug) - Helps pay for prescription drugs (can be a standalone plan or included in Medicare Advantage plans)
1. Combines Part A (hospital) and Part B (medical) in one plan
2. Coverage is solely provided by insurance carrier and their network of providers
3. Usually includes prescription drug (Part D) coverage
4. May offer additional benefits not provided by Original Medicare such as dental, vision, and hearing
Supplement (Medigap) Plans - Helps pay some of the out-of-pocket costs that come with Medicare and use original Medicare’s network or providers
Do not provide drug coverage
This period spans seven months—starting three months before your 65th birthday month and ending three months after your birthday month.
Oct 15 - Dec 7If you have existing Medicare plan coverage(s), you can review, change, and/or drop these plans during this window each year. Remember, you must be enrolled in Medicare Parts A and B before you can enroll in an Medicare Advantage or Medicare Supplement plan.