OUR PROCESS FOR ENROLLING IN MEDICARE

4 EASY Steps! 

If you are NEW to Medicare because you are turning 65, and need to Enroll in Medicare A and B, these instructions are for you!  This also applies to people over over 65 who are retiring or have been downsized, are losing Employer group coverage, and need to enroll in Medicare A and B for the first time or have A but need to enroll in Medicare B...

Medicare may seem confusing and hard to understand– Don’t Panic!   We have made it easy and broken down the process into 4 simple steps:  

1) Learn about your options by Watching several short Medicare videos We created this You Tube 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?"  List of all videos provided here:  https://www.youtube.com/@cbhealthinsurance3621/videos  

  • START HERE!   We recommend you start with this video below, which includes info on WHEN to apply and WHO should apply.   Click the PLAY button below: 

2) Enroll in Medicare A and B only (or get forms to enroll in Medicare B):

  • Enroll online through the Social Security online application.  Direct link here:   https://www.ssa.gov/benefits/medicare/#anchor4  
  • 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 the "HOW TO" video we made on our CB Health Insurance YouTube channel.   

                        Click here to start watching: How To Enroll in Medicare  

For further assistance in Enrolling in Medicare, you can call the Social Security office at 1-800-772-1213

3) Complete Medicare Contact Form and Medicare Questionnaire 

  •  After you have applied and confirmed your Enrolling in Medicare, contact our office by completing the MEDICARE CONTACT FORM so we can assist you with the next steps.  (Confirmation of enrollment can be found online if you applied online, or if you receive a letter from SS office, or if you receive your Medicare Card with your Medicare #.) 
    • Contact form:      Medicare Contact Form   
    • This is a short form to ask only a few short questions including WHEN your Medicare coverage begins. 
  • Upon receipt of the Medicare Contact form, our office will send you a SECURE link to complete the Medicare Questionnaire; we will need you to obtain some personal info, including your most current list of medications and providers, info on your preferences and budget, and  other personal info such as your birthdate, zip code, smoking status, in order for us to provide Medicare Supplement quotes and options for drug coverage. 

NOTE:  You will need your Medicare Card and Medicare # in order to enroll in any additional plans including drug coverage.  Our office wants to make sure we have the most current and up-to-date medical info and list of your prescriptions.  For this reason, we don't provide quotes 3-12 months in advance of you actually enrolling.  Once enrolled in a drug plan, you will not be able to change until the next annual Open Enrollment in the fall.   In addition, carriers change their Medicare Supplement rates annual, often in the spring but some can be summer, fall or first of the year.  We want to give you the most current and accurate rates when you are ready to enroll! 

4) Schedule a ZOOM call with our office to review all options, answer questions, decide on plans and enroll!  

  • Once our office receives the completed questionnaire from you, we will prepare all quotes for all options based on your interest, budget and preferences (including Medicare D, Medicare C, and Medicare Supplements).   We will reach out to you via email to schedule a Zoom meeting with our staff to review all options, answer all your questions, and help you pick the BEST plan that suits your needs and budget! 

NOTE:   At this time, our office is not offering in-office appointments. 

DISCLAIMER:   Our office will waive any and all fees for preparing quotes and comparisons for anyone that enrolls in plans through our office and becomes our client.  If you choose not to enroll through our office, fees for quoting will apply.  For more info on fees, refer to "Shopping for Plans" page here:  https://www.cbhealthins.com/shopping-for-medicare-plans 

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Here is some additional information on Medicare: 

PREMIUMS:   Feel free to download this document:  2024 Medicare B and D premiums.  

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. SEE Chart in "2023 Medicare B and D premiums" document for income levels.  The standard Part B premium for 2024 is $174.70, an increase of $9.80 from the 2023 Part B premium of $164.90.  The ‘look back’ is 2 years prior to when you enroll in Medicare. So for 2024 enrollment, the government will look at your 2022 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 ask 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.

 

Options to Enroll in Medicare keep changing: During COVID, people were not allowed to go tot he SS office; instead an individual would call the toll free # to schedule a future phone appointment to enroll or be directed to enroll via online application on the SS website.  Since the re-opening of SS offices, the gov't has yet again changed their protocol.  It is not recommended to go to the local SS office without an appt. Calling the toll free number will only get you an appointment to enroll (and could be in person) at a future date.  Online is still the best option! 

  1. Online here: Enroll in Medicare A and B through Social Security office ONLINE
    I’m told the online app is easy.  I recommend this!!!!!!!!!!!
  2. NO LONGER RECOMMENDED:   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.
  3. Call Social Security to Make a phone appointment to enroll: 1-800-772-1213.   They will not enroll you immediately over the phone without first scheduling an appointment to do so. 

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 $8/month and as high as $110/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.  Our office provides quotes with the top 5 A-rated companies with the Lowest Rates.  An MAPD plan can run from $0 up to $170/month, but most plans are well under $100, many from $0-40/month and include a 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 information about your options including the difference between Med Supp plans and how a Medicare Advantage plans work, check out my YouTube Channel: