What are my Medicare coverage options?
Original Medicare is health insurance offered through the US government and helps pay for some, but not all, your hospital stays and doctor visits. Original Medicare does NOT pay for any of your prescription drug expenses. An Original Medicare plan may be enough for you. Visit medicare.gov to find out the Medicare plans available to you in your area.
What other Medicare plans are available?
- Medicare supplement plans
- Medicare Part D prescription drug plans
- Medicare Advantage plans
If you chose one of these plans, be sure to enroll about two months before you retire. Remember, processing your application can actually take up to six weeks—and you don’t want to have a gap in your health coverage.
Now, if you’re worried you won’t be able to afford a Medicare health plan, we encourage you to visit the social security website [ssa.gov]. You can also call your local social security office about extra help paying for a plan with prescription drug coverage. Apply early, because it can take up to three months to find out if you qualify for this extra help.
Visit medicare.gov for more help understanding your options so you can make informed decisions about your healthcare.
What do my Medicare health coverage options depend upon?
- Your age
- Whether you have retiree coverage through your employer or plan sponsor
You may qualify for a Medicare Special Enrollment Period if you are:
- Covered under your spouse’s current employer health plan
- At least 65 years old when your spouse’s employer insurance ends
When is my Medicare Special Enrollment Period?
Your Medicare Special Enrollment period begins when you retire or when your employer insurance ends—whatever comes first, if you qualify.
Important things to consider during your Medicare Special Enrollment Period
First of all, we recommend that you talk with your employer’s health insurance plan administrator before you make any decisions.
You should ask whether your employer’s health insurance plan provider works with Medicare coverage. At age 65, you may have to take full Medicare benefits (Part A & B) instead. Also, if your employer has less than 20 employees, you may be advised to take Medicare coverage only.
During your Medicare Special Enrollment Period you have up to 8 months to enroll in Medicare Part A and Medicare Part B. This period begins after your last month of employment or last month of health coverage under your (former) employer.
From the month after your last month of employment or health coverage under your (former) employer, you’ll have 2 months to enroll in:
- Medicare Advantage—called Medicare Part C
- Medicare Part D, which is specifically for prescription drug coverage. You may choose to sign up for Medicare Part D now, as a way to prepare for higher prescription costs in the future.
If you are not eligible for a Special Enrollment Period when COBRA or retiree coverage ends, you may be eligible for other enrollment options. We encourage you to call Medicare or meet with your employer’s healthcare administrator to better understand all your options.