Medicare is the government subsidized health insurance program for people aged 65 or older, some disabled people under age 65, and people of all ages with End-Stage Renal Disease (permanent kidney failure treated with dialysis or a transplant).
Call or visit your local Social Security office for details on eligibility and how to enroll in Medicare Parts A and B.
Enrollment for Medicare Advantage
Medicare Advantage, also known as Medicare Part C, is an insurance plan provided by a private insurance company. It includes Part A and Part B type coverage and may include additional benefits.
Medicare enrollment for Medicare Advantage plans is not automatic. You will need to enroll through a private insurance company.
You can enroll in Medicare Advantage:
- During your initial open enrollment period when you first become eligible for Medicare, or
- During the annual open enrollment period (generally from October 15 to December 7), or
- During a special enrollment period, in certain situations; for example, if you lose your current Medicare plan coverage.
If you’re interested in learning more about enrolling in Medicare Advantage, use our free Medicare Plans quoting service to connect with a licensed agent, without obligation.
Enrollment for Medicare Part D
Prescription drug coverage (Part D) is available to everyone with Medicare. To get Medicare Part D drug coverage, you must join a plan run by an insurance company or other private company approved by Medicare.
You can join, switch, or drop a Medicare Part D drug plan at these times:
- When you are first eligible for Medicare (the 7-month period that begins 3 months before the month you turn age 65, includes the month you turn age 65, and ends 3 months after the month you turn age 65).
- If you get Medicare due to a disability, you can join during the 3 months before to 3 months after your 25th month of disability. You will have another chance to join 3 months before the month you turn age 65 to 3 months after the month you turn age 65.
- Between October 15-December 7 each year. Your coverage will begin on January 1 of the following year, as long as the plan gets your enrollment request by December 7.
- Anytime, if you qualify for “Extra Help” or if you have both Medicare and Medicaid.
The “Extra Help” program is also called the low-income subsidy (LIS) from Medicare. You may qualify for Extra Help to pay prescription drug costs if your yearly income and resources are below certain limits.
To get answers to your questions about Extra Help, call your State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP).
Enrollment for Medicare Supplement
Medicare Supplement (or Medigap) policies are designed to fill many of the gaps in Original Medicare coverage.
Medicare Supplement policies are provided by private insurance companies and are regulated by the federal government and state governments. You must apply for coverage through one of the private insurers who offer Medicare Supplement plans.
The Medigap open enrollment period is generally the 6 months that starts on the first day of the month in which you are at least 65 years old and enrolled in Medicare Part B. (Some states have additional open enrollment periods including those for people under 65.) During this open enrollment period, an insurance company must sell you any Medigap policy it sells and cannot charge you more for your coverage because of health problems or make you wait for coverage to begin (except for certain pre-existing condition waiting periods that may or may not apply to you).
After this open enrollment period, you may still apply for Medigap coverage, but the insurance company can refuse to cover you because of medical conditions or the insurance company may require that you pay higher premiums. There are certain situations when you are still guaranteed issuance of a Medigap policy, even after the open enrollment period.
To learn more about enrollment for Medicare plans, use the quoting tool above and connect with a licensed professional agent.