New to Medicare

Are you turning 65 or first looking into Medicare? You will want to learn about the types of coverage available and how to sign up on time. Fortunately, Almond Insurance is here to help you.

What Is Medicare?

Medicare is a program administered by the Social Security Administration to provide health insurance to a huge portion of Americans. Around 15% of Medicare beneficiaries qualify due to a disability and the remainder qualify due to their senior status. If you fall under either of these groups, you will likely be finding yourself needing to sign up for Medicare plans.

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Enrolling in Medicare

Seniors turning 65 can first sign up for Medicare during their Initial Enrollment Period. This begins three months before your birthday month. Signing up in those three months will mean your coverage starts on the first day of your birthday month, or the first day of the month before if your birthday falls on the first. You can still sign up during your birthday month or in the three months after, but your coverage will be delayed a few months.

You enroll in Medicare through Social Security. You can do this by visiting your local Social Security office, applying online at Social Security’s website, or calling.

Some Are Automatically Enrolled

A few groups of people are automatically enrolled in Medicare. People who qualify for Medicare due to a disability can begin receiving coverage after 24 months of receiving disability benefits. You will automatically be enrolled and your coverage will begin on the first day of the 25th month of receiving disability benefits. 


If you qualify for Medicare because you have Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), you are automatically enrolled and your coverage begins the first month you begin receiving disability benefits.


If you qualify for Medicare because you have End-Stage Renal Disease (ESRD), you can choose to sign up for Medicare. You are first eligible for coverage in your fourth month of a regular course of dialysis treatment or your first month of at-home dialysis treatment if you have been trained and approved to perform treatments at home.

If, for any reason, you have missed your Initial Enrollment Period, you have another opportunity to enroll during the Open Enrollment Period from January 1 to March 31. Your coverage will then begin on July 1.

Do an Annual Plan Review 

Once enrolled, you can also make changes to your plan during the Annual Enrollment Period if you are not completely satisfied with the coverage you have or its cost. This period begins on October 15 and ends on December 7, giving you the opportunity to review your coverage annually.

What Are the Benefits of Medicare?

Medicare Part A acts as your hospital insurance and Part B acts as your medical insurance. You have coverage for inpatient care in a hospital or skilled nursing facility, hospice care, and home health care through Part A. Part B covers preventive and medically necessary care, which can include clinical research, ambulance services, mental health care, outpatient hospital services, and durable medical equipment.

Those were Original Medicare. You can also sign up for Medicare Advantage plans, Part D prescription drug plans, and Medicare Supplements.

Medicare Advantage plans have the same Part A and Part B coverage as Original Medicare but can also offer prescription drug, dental, hearing, or vision coverage, and other benefits.

Part D plans control the price of your prescriptions at the pharmacy. You will pay a set copayment based on whether your drug is generic, brand-name, preferred, or specialty.

Medicare Supplement plans are a way to plan for the out-of-pocket costs from Part A and Part B. With these policies, you can find coverage for copayments, coinsurance, deductibles, care in a foreign country, and more.

The best time to sign up for a Medicare Supplement is in the six months after you are 65 and enrolled in Part B. During this time, called your Medigap Open Enrollment, you will not be turned away due to health reasons.

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For more information about signing up for Medicare, call the number on your screen.