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Medicare Enlightenment

A simple way to learn what you need to know about Medicare

Whether you are enrolled in Medicare or becoming eligible soon, the path to Medicare awareness starts with getting the facts you need to understand all your options and make informed decisions. Take a deep breath, relax, and watch this video where we show you the way.

This video takes an in-depth look at the four basic parts that make up Medicare Part A, B, C and D. That’s hospital, medical and prescription drug coverage.

Starting with Parts A and B ‑ also known as Original Medicare. They work together to provide hospital and medical insurance.

Medicare Part C, also known as Medicare Advantage is an alternative to Medicare Parts A and B. It often includes additional benefits, like prescription drug coverage, dental coverage and vision care. You can get Parts A and B directly from Medicare or from a private insurance plan approved by Medicare. There are special Medicare Advantage plans for those who qualify for both Medicare and Medi-Cal. These Dual Eligible Special Needs Plans coordinate Medicare and Medi-Cal coverage‑and offer additional benefits, too.

We’ll also discuss Medicare Part D, prescription drug coverage. You can get it as a standalone prescription drug plan or included with Part C. That could be with an HMO, PPO or other Medicare plan that includes Medicare prescription drug coverage.

These four parts are the core of your Medicare insurance. That’s hospital, medical and prescription drug coverage … plus the private insurance company options. It’s how you put these parts together that determine the benefits you have.

You can also enroll in a Medicare Supplement plan, or Medigap. These plans help by covering costs that Original Medicare doesn’t‑like deductibles, copays and coinsurance.

There are Medigap options designed to meet every need and budget. While core benefits are standardized, some plans include extras like an allowance for over-the-counter items, vision and hearing benefits, and even gym memberships.

When to Enroll in Medicare

Learning when to enroll is one of the most important steps in your Medicare journey. Keep in mind that Medicare enrollment is not automatic for most people. Unless you already collect benefits from Social Security or the Railroad Retirement Board, you have to sign up.

Even if you’re still working at age 65, or if you have health insurance through your employer, we discuss your options too. But know that you won’t be notified by the government when it’s time to enroll. So take a few minutes to learn how and when to get ready.

No matter what your situation, it’s important to sign up for Medicare as soon as you’re eligible. If your miss your Initial Enrollment Period, you’ll have to wait until the next Open Enrollment Period. It could be months before your benefits begin … and you may be charged a penalty.

You can sign up for Medicare at your local Social Security office or at SocialSecurity.gov.

If you have questions or need answers, assistance is available. Here’s a list of important resources:

Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS)

medicare.gov

800-Medicare (800-633-4227)

877-486-2048 (TTY)

Social Security Administration

SocialSecurity.gov

800-772-1213

800-325-0778 (TTY)

Railroad Retirement Board

rrb.gov

877-772-5772

312-751-4701 (TTY)

Health Insurance Counseling and Advocacy Program (HICAP)

800-434-0222

800-735-2929 (TTY)

You can always count on us for assistance. We’re here to help you every step of the way. Call Blue Shield of California or an authorized Blue Shield broker, attend a free Medicare information session, or visit us online.

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Your enrollment timeline.

Your enrollment window begins 3 months before and ends 3 months after the month you turn 65.

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ENROLLMENT WINDOW
MAY 1
NOW 31
MAY 1
NOW 31
YOUR BIRTHDAY
AUG 1
TODAY
MAR 1
MAY 1
NOW 31
MAY 1
NOW 31

Your enrollment window encompasses when you may be first eligible to enroll in Original Medicare (during your Initial Enrollment Period) and then enroll in a Blue Shield Medicare plan. You may be eligible to enroll during other times of the year.

Your enrollment timeline.

Your enrollment window begins 3 months before and ends 3 months after the month you turn 65.

Reset birthdate
days until enrollment closes
TODAY ENROLLMENT IS OPEN
MAY 1
NOW 31
MAY 1
NOW 31
CLOSED

Your enrollment window encompasses when you may be first eligible to enroll in Original Medicare (during your Initial Enrollment Period) and then enroll in a Blue Shield Medicare plan. You may be eligible to enroll during other times of the year.

Find your enrollment window.

Your annual enrollment period window (or AEP) for a Medicare Advantage Prescription Drug Plan (MA-PD) and a Prescription Drug Plan (PDP) for 2019 coverage may be open or just around the corner. You may also be able to enroll at other times of the year if you qualify for a special enrollment period (SEP).

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Enrollment begins October 15, 2018

Annual enrollment period closed

days until enrollment closes
ENROLLMENT IS OPEN
ENROLLMENT WAS OPEN
TODAY ENROLLMENT IS OPEN
OCT 15
DEC 7
2018
2018
DEC 8, 2018 CLOSED

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