What you need to know about the Medicare enrollment process

If you’re not yet eligible for Medicare, you may not know much about it. But if you’re approaching your 65th birthday, preparing for the decisions ahead is a good idea.

There’s a lot to catch up on. That’s why WPS Health Insurance offers a free “Cruising Confidently Into Medicare” guide. It includes a step-by-step timeline of the Medicare enrollment process and answers questions like:

  • How do I prepare for Medicare?
  • What are the parts of Medicare?
  • What is a Medicare supplement?
  • What is Medicare Advantage?
  • What is the difference between the two?
  • What governmental resources can help me find out more?

An overview

The guide has detailed information that can help you choose the coverage options that are truly best for you. Here are a few basics to get you started.

It’s a good idea to begin preparing for Medicare at least six months before you turn 65. Get in touch with Social Security to ensure your eligibility.

Begin familiarizing yourself with the different parts of Medicare. In a nutshell:

  • Part A includes inpatient/hospital coverage
  • Part B includes outpatient/medical service coverage
  • Part C is a Medicare Advantage plan (more on that shortly)
  • Part D is a prescription drug plan, or PDP

For most people, enrollment in Medicare is automatic when they enroll in Social Security, but you’ll want to be sure you’re good to go. Your Initial Enrollment Period begins three months before your 65th birthday and ends three months after.

You don’t want to miss that enrollment window. If you do, you are subject to penalties when you eventually enroll. (There are exceptions. If you delay enrollment in Part B because you have employer-sponsored health insurance, you do not have to pay a penalty.)

Medicare supplement vs. Medicare Advantage

Medicare is a valuable benefit, but if you are only enrolled in Original Medicare, you still have to pay 20% of your medical costs. That can add up quickly.

Many opt to augment their coverage with a Medicare supplement or Medicare Advantage plan. There are plenty of differences between the two. Perhaps the most important is that with a Medicare supplement, you are getting additional coverage while still keeping Original Medicare. Medicare Advantage is a replacement for Original Medicare.

Medicare supplement plans are guaranteed renewable for life. There are no networks, so you can see any doctor in the United States who accepts Medicare, and your Medicare supplement moves with you if you relocate. Medicare supplements also have no annual enrollment periods, so you have additional flexibility if you would like to switch plans.

These considerations just scratch the surface. To find out more about your Medicare options, get our free guide. Knowledge is power!

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This is an advertisement for insurance. The purpose of this marketing is solicitation of insurance. Contact will be made by an insurance agent or insurance company. Neither Wisconsin Physicians Service Insurance Corporation, nor its products, nor agents are connected with the federal Medicare program. This policy has exclusions, limitations, and terms under which the policy may be continued in force or discontinued. For costs and complete details of the coverage, call or write your insurance agent or the insurance company.