Understanding Medicare Enrollment

Resources are Available to Help You Plan and Enroll

  1. Understanding-Medicare_350x175pxIndividuals who are near the age of Medicare eligibility will benefit from doing their homework and asking questions. Medicare is the federal health insurance program for seniors and the disabled. The following steps will help you navigate through the process of choosing and enrolling in the best Medicare option for you.
  2. Be open and ask questions. Your decisions will affect both your health well-being and your financial well-being.
  3. As you approach the eligibility age of 65, get information on the enrollment process. Some people may be eligible for enrollment before age 65 if they are disabled, but most become eligible at age 65. If you are uncertain, contact your local Social Security Office.
  4. Understand the Parts: Medicare Part A, Part B, and Part D. Most everyone becomes enrolled automatically for Medicare Part A if they worked the required number of hours and had taxes taken out of wages. If you’re close to age 65, be aware of the Initial Enrollment Period for Medicare. This period covers three months prior to the month of your 65th birthday, your birthday month, and three months after. During this time, you should enroll in Medicare Part B, which has a monthly premium, by calling or visiting your Social Security Office. When enrolling in Medicare Part B, you also should actively enroll in a Medicare Part D Plan for prescription drug coverage. Failure to enroll in Part D, even if you are not currently taking medication, will result in a financial penalty that will continue for the rest of your life.
  5. Medicare options and guidance. When enrollment in Medicare Part A and B (original Medicare) is complete, you then have three choices:
    • staying in original Medicare and Part D;
    • buying a supplement to original Medicare;
    • or selecting Medicare Part C, which is a Medicare Advantage Plan.
  6. While these options are available, it’s important to remember that you can enroll in original Medicare and go no further. Take the time to learn about your choices. You will have seven months to enroll and become an educated consumer.
  7. Considerations for those who are still working. If you plan to work beyond age 65, which is not uncommon, you need to consider which makes more sense: enrolling in Medicare or continuing with your employer’s health plan. Robert Denhard, Ohio Department of Insurance public information officer, says because each situation is different, you need to check into your options. “It is important that individuals utilize the resources available to them for guidance,” he says.

The department of insurance’s Ohio Senior Health Insurance Information Program (OSHIIP) offers Welcome to Medicare webinars and is holding Welcome to Medicare events across the state. Register for a webinar and see the event schedule at insurance.ohio.gov in the Medicare Services section.

Have Questions

Resources for Medicare information: 1-800-Medicare1-800-MedicareMedicare.govInsurance.ohio.gov (Medicare Services section), and Ohio Senior Health Insurance Information Program, 1-800-686-15781-800-686-1578.