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'3 Confusing Things to Know About Medicare'


1 / When should I start enrolling in Medicare? 

In most cases, from 3 months before you turn 65 until 3 months after.

>>>WATCH THE VIDEO: Getting Started with Medicare

2 / What is the first step I should take to enroll?

Register for an account and sign up for Medicare parts A & B as early as 3 months before you turn 65.  You will receive your Medicare card in a few weeks.  This is required to enroll in a Medicare supplement or Medicare Advantage plan.

If you intend to stay on your employer plan, you don't need to enroll in Part B.

>>>WATCH THE VIDEO: Getting Started with Medicare

3 / Do I have to apply for Social Security before I enroll in Medicare? 

No. Social security eligibility differs based on the year you were born. Medicare begins at 65, except for special situations involving serious illness or long-term disability. You can learn more about those special circumstances at

4 / I’m still covered by my (or my spouse's) work insurance plan - do I need to do anything when I turn 65? 

Yes. You should register at for Part A from 3 months before your turn 65 until 3 months after.  As soon as you find out your spouse’s coverage is ending, you will need to enroll in Part B, secure a supplement plan or an advantage plan and purchase a Part D prescription drug plan. You have 3 months from the end of their (or your) work coverage to secure new coverage.

>>>WATCH THE VIDEO: Special Case Scenarios

5 / What’s the difference between Part A, Part B, and Part D Medicare plans?

The main elements of Original Medicare are:

  • Part A (Hospital)

  • Part B (Medical Insurance)

  • Part D (Prescription Drug Coverage)


6 / What is the difference between Medicare Advantage Plans and Medicare Supplement Plans? 

The basic difference is that Medicare Supplement plans work WITH Original Medicare, meaning that you remain covered by Medicare and you are purchasing additional insurance to fill the gap between what Medicare covers (80%) and what it does not (20%).

Medicare Advantage Plans REPLACE Original Medicare with an all-inclusive coverage that is usually limited to a network of facilities and providers. You are covered by private insurance rather than Medicare. If you choose an Advantage plan, you are not guaranteed to be able to switch to Original Medicare with a supplement plan at a later date.


7 / What if I don't like my Medicare Advantage plan, can I change it? 

- If you are new to Medicare - if you select an Advantage Plan during your initial enrollment period, you can switch to another advantage plan or go back to original medicare and a supplement plan (without answering underwriting questions) within the first 3 months.

- If you were in Original Medicare with a Medicare Supplement Plan and switched to a Medicare Advantage Plan, you have 12 months from your switch to go back to Original Medicare and your Supplement Plan

- If you have been in a Medicare Advantage plan for more than a year, you can switch Advantage plans or elect to go back to original Medicare Parts A, B and D during open enrollment  between October 15-and December 7. You may not be able to enroll in a Supplement plan. Your coverage starts Jan 1.

- If you are in a Medicare Advantage plan during open enrollment, you can switch plans or change back to Original Medicare during the Medicare Advantage open enrollment period from January 1 to March 31. You can also add a Medicare drug plan. You may not be able to enroll in a Supplement plan. You can only make one change during this period. 

8 / How much do these plans cost and how do I pay for them?  
  • Medicare Part A (Hospital) is no additional cost and covers all but $1,600 of each hospital admission.

  • Medicare Part B (Doctors) has a monthly premium that changes each year. Part B premiums were $164.90 for most people in 2023. Part B Deductible is $226 in 2023

  • Part D premiums vary.

  • Parts B and D can be paid through social security deductions, or if you’re not collecting, you can get billed.

>>>WATCH THE VIDEO: How Much Does Medicare Cost? 

9 /Do I really need supplemental coverage on top of original Medicare?

Since Medicare only covers 80% of your medical costs, you are responsible for the remaining 20%, no matter how high the costs go. A supplement plan - also known as MediGap coverage - covers those costs. All you pay is your premium and the Part B deductible. 

10 / Do I need to renew coverage each year?  

Your Medicare Supplement, Advantage, and Prescription Drug Plans will automatically roll over. However it’s a good idea to review your prescription coverage during Open Enrollment each year, because your needs may change and a different plan may be a better value.

1 1/ I don’t have enough medicare credits and I turn 65 before my spouse who does have enough credits, what do I do? 

You have to wait until your spouse is eligible for Medicare at age 65 before you can receive Medicare benefits. 

12 / I just recently turned 65 and enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan and hate It. Can I switch to a Medicare Supplement (Medigap) Plan? 

You can switch to a Medicare Supplement plan without underwriting or health questions as long as it’s been less than 3 months. If it’s been over 3 months, you will have to go through underwriting to get into a supplement plan. 

13 / I have had a Medicare Supplement plan (Medigap) for years but changed to a Medicare Advantage Plan this Year, and I Hate It. What Can I Do?

You can go back to the exact same supplement plan that you were on without answering questions as long as it’s been less than a year. Ex. If you were in an AARP Plan F and you switch to an Advantage plan, you can go back to the same AARP Plan F without questions within 12 months of your enrollment in that Advantage plan. Or you can apply to another supplement plan, you just have to answer underwriting health questions.

14 / Do I Need to Apply for Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Coverage? 

Yes and no. You must have creditable drug coverage when you go on Medicare, or you will be penalized. You can do this through an employer plan or by purchasing a Part D Drug Plan. It is important that you select the appropriate plan based on your drug list. These plans can change yearly. You can research plans on or by calling a licensed Medicare broker.

15 / What cards should I bring to my doctor's visits? 

If you are on Original Medicare with a Supplement (Medigap) plan, you should bring your Medicare card and your Supplement card. Tell the provider your Medicare is primary and Supplement is secondary.

If you are on a Medicare Advantage plan, you only bring your private insurer Advantage card.

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