3 Ways to Make the Medicare Enrollment Process Easier

Maybe you’re reaching the threshold of 65 and realize that you’ll eventually have to enroll in Medicare, but you’ve heard the confusing stories that go along with enrollment. There are ways to make the process easier. Here are 3 ways to make your enrollment both understandable and less difficult maneuvering through the process.

1. Deadlines to Meet

There are different deadlines or periods for signing up for Medicare. You’re either switching between coverage, unenrolling from a Medicare plan or initially signing up for a plan.

The first deadline happens when you turn 65. Governmental notification will come three months ahead of your 65th birthday. You should sign up for a Medicare plan within that time so your coverage starts in the month of your birthday.

In addition to the initial enrollment period, there are two times every year when you can switch your current plan for the coming year. These times include the Medicare Open Enrollment Period and the Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period.

Medicare Open Enrollment is from October 15 until December 7. You can enroll in Medicare, change your plans, or drop a plan. When you enroll by December 7, coverage begins on January 1.

Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment is from From January 1 until March 31. You can either choose a different Medicare Advantage plan or switch to Original Medicare.

2. Know Your Needs

If you’re receiving Social Security benefits, you’ll be enrolled in Original Medicare which includes Parts A and B. This will go into effect on the first day of the month you turn 65, but this isn’t the only option you have.

There are two components that make up the medical system you’ll be using. Those parts consist of Medicare Advantage or a Medicare Supplement.

The Medicare Supplement (Medigap) is a (private) policy that can assist you when Parts A and B coverage are not enough. If you’ve chosen Original Medicare, you can purchase this a private policy through the Medicare system. In contrast, Medicare Advantage offers private inclusive insurance plans through the Medicare system as an alternative to Original Medicare.

With the different coverage offered, you must do your research on the different Original Medicare and Medicare Advantage private plans. Not every plan gives the same coverage and benefits.

Just because a health care provider takes Medicare doesn’t mean they’ll take any insurance plan. With the many plans that fit under Medicare coverage throughout the country and counties, a doctor may take one plan and not another, so it’s important to select the right plan.

In order to gain the most and best benefits from your plan, you’ll want to consider several factors in your lifestyle that will affect your choices, such as whether you’re a frequent traveler or live in other places part of the year, your preference for doctors, and any specific drugs covered in your plan.

When you choose to live part of the time in one place and another part of the year somewhere else, you could be seriously affected by using your coverage. Medicare is simply not a one size fits all category.

3. Work with a Medicare Consultant

With all the different choices and decisions you have to make with Medicare or Medicare Advantage, it can be confusing. To limit the time and effort that go into selecting a plan, conferring with a Medicare consultant can limit the confusion. Working with one is a way to lessen the worry and confusion over choosing a workable plan.

A consultant can provide you with the latest information on the plans available, as not all plans contain the same coverage or benefits, plus a consultant can help you decide what is best for you and your medical needs. With Medicare plans changing year to year, it’s important to review them during the open enrollment period. Copays can go up and down and with all the changes occurring, it’s hard to keep up with it all. Having someone on your side working actively to prioritize your needs and improve upon or change your Medicare plan can free you from worry, plus give you the confidence you need to decide what’s best for you.

The Medicare enrollment process can be confusing and overwhelming for some, but you can best serve yourself with a bit of research. Knowing enrollment dates and the different insurance plans available through Medicare and Medicare Advantage can be extremely helpful. Don’t be afraid to do a little research and consult with Medicare professionals to find what works for you.