When You Sign up for Medicare, Start With These 3 Things TopicsPopular TopicsMost Recent Medicare Working Past 65 Lifestyle & Wellness Considering Retirement Existing Clients Employer Monthly Webinars Community Development Preparing to sign up for Medicare can be overwhelming—but our team aims to make it simple. Here are three easy things to start with as you get ready to enroll. 1. Know Your Enrollment Period An enrollment period is a window of time when you are able to sign up for Medicare. There are several kinds that may apply to you: Initial Enrollment Period Annual Enrollment Period Special Enrollment Period Initial Enrollment Period If you are turning 65 or have recently turned 65, you’re near your Initial Enrollment Period (IEP). Your IEP begins three months before the month of your 65th birthday, includes your birth month, and ends three months later. For example, if your birthday is in December, your IEP would begin on Sept. 1 and end on March 31. If your birthday is in July, your IEP would go from April 1 to Oct. 31. This seven-month window is your first opportunity to sign up for Medicare. Annual Enrollment Period Medicare’s Annual Enrollment Period (AEP) runs from Oct. 15 to Dec. 7. Once you are eligible for Medicare, you can make changes to your coverage during AEP. If you sign up for Medicare for the first time during Annual Enrollment, your coverage will begin on Jan. 1, 2022. But if you miss this window, you may have to wait another year to get Medicare coverage. Exceptions apply if you qualify for a Special Enrollment Period. Special Enrollment Period You may qualify for a Special Enrollment Period (SEP) due to a change in life circumstances. A few common examples include: Moving to a different state or county Losing health coverage through an employer or union (either yours or your spouse’s) Becoming eligible for Medicaid or Extra Help This is not a comprehensive list. Many different circumstances can apply that qualify you to sign up for Medicare during a SEP. If you have questions about your situation, reach out to our advisors for guidance. 2. Check Your Social Security Status If you are already drawing Social Security before your 65th birthday, you don’t need to take any action to sign up for Medicare. Social Security will automatically enroll you in Medicare Part A and Part B. If you are not yet drawing Social Security, you have the option to start withdrawing in advance of when you need your Medicare coverage to begin. Then, Social Security will automatically enroll you. You can also continue to delay your Social Security payments and sign up for Medicare another way. But you don’t have to stop with Original Medicare. Part A and Part B alone may not meet your health care needs. Our advisors will research your options and help you choose additional coverage. 3. Compare Your Plan Options Will you need additional coverage on top of Original Medicare? If so, you have three types of plan options. Medicare Supplements (Medigap) As the name suggests, these plans “fill in the gaps” of Original Medicare. Supplement plans cover all the same services as Original Medicare. This type of coverage can lower your out-of-pocket costs when you visit the doctor or hospital. Prescription Drug Plans Original Medicare and Medicare Supplement plans do not cover prescription drugs. To avoid paying for your medications out of pocket, you can add a Prescription Drug plan to your Medicare coverage. Medicare Advantage (Part C) Also called Medicare Part C, Medicare Advantage plans offer coverage for additional services that aren’t included in Medigap or Original Medicare: dental, vision, hearing, and (sometimes) prescription drugs. You’ve likely seen commercials advertising the lifestyle benefits of Medicare Advantage. In 2022, these plans offer perks such as grocery gift cards, fitness memberships, transportation, and more. There’s no “best” Medicare plan out there. Our advisors believe that the best plan is the one that works for your needs and budget. Let us research your options so you can find the right fit. Ready to Sign up for Medicare? Whether you’re doing your research in advance or you’re ready to sign up for Medicare today, our advisors are here to help. We’re with you every step of the way. Schedule a call with us to get started. Stay informed about Medicare An easy way to stay updated on Medicare and any important changes is to sign up for the free, customizable RetireMEDiQ newsletter. Based on your personal preferences and interests, helpful articles and community-related content will be sent directly to your inbox. Sign up for our newsletter Yes! 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