Our Process for Enrolling in Medicare

Medicare Open Enrollment Begins October 15th and runs through December 7th.   Shop for Medicare RX and Medicare Advantage plans on our new YourMedicare website:  

YourMedicarePlans


Below is a lot of info on enrolling in Medicare – Don’t Panic!   It is detailed for a reason, but we have made it easy with 4 simple steps:  

  1. Learn about your options by Watching some short videos I have created on You Tube; we created this channel to help you understand all this Medicare stuff.  These videos are short (5-10 min) and easy to understand on topics like “The A, B, C’s and D’s of Medicare”, “Medicare Supplements Explained!” and “What is a Medicare Advantage plan?” , "When is the BEST time to enroll?"  and "What is the INITIAL Enrollment period?"

  1. Enroll in Medicare B:  Use the LINK below to the gov’t site to apply online! (Scroll down for instructions and link below further down on this page.)   We have also created a video on how to download the Medicare Application forms from the government and how to find a local Social Security office to send application.   Watch HOW TO here:

                                                           Click here to start watching NOW: CB Health Insurance YouTube

  1. Complete Medicare questionnaire – After Enrolling in Medicare, complete the SECURE online ‘quiz’ where we ask you to provide information about your situation so that we can provide you quotes.  We recommend doing this after steps #1 and #2.  For your reference, link to quiz is here:  
    • Medicare Questionnaire Quiz        
      • NOTE:  Our office will be happy to provide quotes if you are nearing Medicare enrollment; we don't recommend getting quotes 6 months or a year in advance.  The reason is that rates and plans change annually and carriers might make these changes Jan, Feb, March, April, May or in the fall.  Also your situation may change - the medications you need, the providers you see, and your budget may change in a year.
  1. Decide on plans and enroll!  Of course we will help you pick plans.


Here is some additional information on Medicare.  Feel free to download these documents: Medicare B Premium 2021 or Part D Premium 2021 Depending on your income at the time you enroll in Medicare, you can either pay the STANDARD premium or a higher amount, referred to as IRMA - Income Related Monthly Adjustments.  If you are single and file an individual return and make under $87k or married filing jointly and make less than about $174k, you will pay just the standard Part B premium of $148.50 for 2021.  The ‘look back’ is 2 years prior to when you enroll in Medicare. So for 2020 enrollment, the government will look at your 2018 income to calculate your Medicare premiums.  (NOTE:  You could pay more for Part D as well if you your income exceeds certain limits.)

IMPORTANT NOTE:  If you have a low income or qualify for Medicaid, you should call Social Security at 1-800-772-1213 and Inquire about EXTRA HELP.  You may qualify for help in paying your Medicare premiums.  

 

Your Initial Enrollment  is a 7-month window that begins 3 months prior to your birthday month, includes your birthday month and 3 months after your birthday month.   You are eligible for Medicare first of the month in which you turn 65.   If your birthday is July 7th  for example, you are eligible for Medicare July 1st and your initial enrollment is from April 1st – Oct 31st.  For someone OVER age 65 who has had Employer Group coverage as their primary, they are allowed to enroll in Medicare part B at any time and can also do so online or at the local SS office.

NOTE:  If your birthday is on the 1st of the month, you are eligible the prior month for Medicare.

 

There are 2 ways you can enroll in Medicare A and B: 

  1. Online here: https://www.medicare.gov/sign-up-change-plans   I’m told the online app is easy.  I recommend this!!!!!!!!!!!
  2. Go to a local Social Security office to sign up for Medicare A and B. -  Without an appointment, you could wait about 2 hours to talk to someone.  If you call SS and schedule an appt, they will most likely make it for your Birthday month, and not sooner.  Since most people want their Medicare card BEFORE their eligibility, they will either go in and wait or enroll online.   You cannot enroll by calling the SS toll free number.

#2 above is not an option during the Covid-19 shut down.  You can instead download and mail applications to the local SS office or fax the completed application to the local office for quicker enrollment. For instructions, watch this video:  

 

“Original Medicare” includes Part A and Part B.  Part A is the hospitalization and is FREE (actually you have been paying taxes all your working life, so the taxes subsidizes the Part A premium.)   Part B is all the out patient stuff (Dr.’s visits, tests, etc.)   Part B has a cost and most people pay the Standard premium.  

Since enrollment into Medicare can take a few weeks, and can be delayed further if there are questions about enrollment or your application, we recommend doing this at the beginning of your initial enrollment period; if you sign up online, you will probably get your Medicare card mailed to you in a couple of weeks.  If you enroll in Medicare the three months prior to turning 65 or during your birthday month, the effective date of Medicare will be the first of the month in which you turn 65. If you enroll in the last 3 months of your initial enrollment, the SS office will enroll you in a future effective date, which can be 5 months in the future if you wait until the last month to enroll.  

Most people agree, Medicare alone is not enough.

You really have one of two options to supplement AND cover Prescription Drugs:

(In both cases, you need to be enrolled in Original Medicare part A and B to get a supplement or Medicare Advantage plan.)

  1. You can purchase a Medicare Supplement and a Drug Card (which is Part D of Medicare)
  2. You can enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan with a Prescription drug card (MAPD).  These utilized networks of providers through HMO or PPO networks.  We would want to look up your providers if you went this route.

 

Our job at CB Health Insurance is to help you pick a plan that will suit your needs and budget!  You can buy a drug card for as low as around $14/month and as high as $130/month, depending on your medication list; a Medicare supplement premium is based on the plan you purchase but also your age, zip code, male/female, smoker/nonsmoker, and household discounts that may apply.  An MAPD plan can run from $0 up to $140/month, but there are a number of good plans well under $100 that include the drug card.  This is a great option for people on a budget or trying to keep their medical premiums low.  You will want to be sure to check the network of providers for these plans.   Again,our office and staff can help you will all of this.

 

To learn more about the BEST time to enroll, the difference between Med Supp plans and how a Medicare Advantage plans work, check out my YouTube Channel: 

CB Health Insurance YouTube