Initially when you turn 65 and annually thereafter.
Choose one of two distinctly different ways to proceed.
Option 1 - Medicare Supplement Plans
Keep Medicare Part A Plan for which you are automatically enrolled and the Medicare Part B Plan to which you enrolled in Step 1.
- Apply for a Medicare Supplement Plan (also referred to as MediGap) from BlueCross, UnitedHealthcare, or another plan provider.
- Also apply for a Medicare Part D prescription plan from one of the many companies offering them. It is important that you choose a prescription plan that is best suited to your needs.
- Supplement Plans with Parts A, B, and D provide comprehensive coverage. Monthly premiums for Supplement plans increase yearly as you age.
- Supplement Plans are better for those who can afford upfront premiums and for those who want freedom of access to more medical providers.
- Choosing a Medigap Policy: medicare.gov/Pubs/pdf/02110-medicare-medigap-guide.pdf
Option 2 - Medicare Advantage Plans
Enroll to a Medicare Advantage Plan from one of the many insurance companies offering them.
- Your Medicare Advantage Plan will replace everything in Option 1. These Advantage Plans are known as Part C and are comprehensive.
- Advantage Plans cost less or have no monthly premium. Many Advantage Plans also provide extra services such as dental, vision, etc. However, Medicare Advantage plans have provider networks with some limited to specific local areas. Referrals and pre-authorizations may be required.
Pages (6, 7, 8) in the 2021 Medicare and You publication summarize the 2 options. Here is a link to the entire 124 page publication: medicare.gov/Pubs/pdf/10050-Medicare-and-You.pdf