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FAQs

1What if I already turned 65, but am currently working and have coverage through my job. When do I sign up for Medicare?
The size of the employer determines whether you may be able to delay Part A and Part B without having to pay a penalty if you enroll later. If the employer has fewer than 20 employees, you should sign up for Part A and Part B when you are first eligible at 65. In this case, Medicare pays before your other coverage. In most other cases with 20 or more employees, you don't need to do anything until you (or your spouse) retire or you lose the employer coverage. You should enroll into Medicare within 8 months of retirement to avoid the Medicare Part B late enrollment penalty. You should always talk with your benefits administrator at your work to see how your plan works with Medicare.

If you didn't get Part B when you're first eligible, your monthly premium may go up 10% for each 12-month period you could've had Part B, but didn't sign up. In most cases, you'll have to pay this penalty each time you pay your premiums, for as long as you have Part B. And, the penalty increases the longer you go without Part B coverage.

BONUS FACT: If you plan to continue COBRA coverage for your eligible time period after employment, you still need to enroll in Medicare within 8 months of retirement to avoid the Part B late enrollment penalty.
2I started receiving Social Security Disability benefits, but won’t be 65 for 4 years, can I get on Medicare now?
You will automatically be enrolled in Medicare Part A and B after 24 months of being on social security disability, even if it’s before you reach age 65. You'll get your red, white, and blue Medicare card in the mail 3 months before your 25th month of disability.

BONUS FACT: Did you know that if you have Medicare before age 65, when you turn 65 you have what’s called a special election period to choose or change your current Medicare supplement, Medicare advantage plan, or prescription drug plan because of your 65th birthday.
3I'll be turning 65 this year, how do I get signed up for Medicare?
If you are already collecting Social Security benefits, you will be automatically enrolled into Medicare and receive your Medicare card in the mail three months before your birthday month. If you are not collecting Social Security benefits yet, then you will need to enroll in Medicare through Social Security. You can do this online at www.ssa.gov, in person at your local office, or by calling Social Security directly at 1-800-772-1213 and scheduling a phone appointment.
4My spouse is turning age 65 this year, retiring and planning to sign up for Medicare. I’m 61, not working and have always used my spouse’s health care benefits. What happens to me and my coverage when my spouse enrolls in Medicare?
In most cases, Medicare won’t cover you until you reach age 65, even if your spouse is already receiving benefits. When your spouse enrolls in Medicare, you’ll need to find other health insurance coverage until you turn 65.

Find out whether your spouse’s current health coverage can cover you after your spouse retires. For example, you may be eligible for COBRA coverage for a period of time after your spouse retires. You may also be able to purchase individual health insurance policies.
5What doesn’t Medicare cover?
Many people are surprised to learn that prescription drugs aren’t covered. You can buy drug coverage through Medicare Part D, but it’s not provided by Part A or Part B (Original Medicare).

Here are some other services that are not covered by Original Medicare:
  • Dental exams, most dental care or dentures
  • Routine eye exams, eyeglasses or contacts
  • Hearing aids or related exams or services
  • Most care while traveling outside the United States
  • Comfort items such TV or private hospital room
  • Long-term care
  • Cosmetic surgery
  • Most chiropractic services
  • Acupuncture or other alternative treatments
  • Routine foot care
You may have to pay for these services yourself unless you have other insurance that covers them. Some Medicare Advantage (Part C) plans may help with certain services not covered by Original Medicare.
6What is a Medicare Supplement or Medigap Insurance?
Medicare supplement insurance (Medigap) helps pay some of the out-of-pocket health care costs that Original Medicare (Parts A and B) doesn’t pay. It isn’t a government benefit, like Parts A and B. Plans are offered through private insurance companies. It’s your decision whether to buy a plan or not.

There are 10 standardized Medicare supplement insurance plans, labeled “A” through “N.” (These letters are not related to the Medicare Part A, B, C and D) The main purpose of a Medicare supplement plan is to cover some of the out-of-pocket costs not paid by Medicare Parts A and B, like deductibles, co-pays and co-insurance. Each of the standardized plans provides benefits for different out-of-pocket costs.

Each standardized plan with the same letter must offer the same basic benefits, no matter which insurance company sells it. For example, the basic benefits of one company’s Plan G are the same as the basic benefits of another company’s Plan G. However, the premium cost of a plan could be different between insurance companies.

BONUS FACT: You cannot have both a Medigap plan and a Medicare Advantage plan at the same time.