AARP Medicare Enrollment Guide: Everything You Need to Know

Medicare enrollment can be confusing. When and how should you sign up? What are the different parts of Medicare? How much will it cost? This comprehensive guide from AARP answers all your questions about enrolling in Medicare.

Enrolling in a Part D Plan

Once you’ve selected a plan during Open Enrollment, the plan will send you an enrollment form to complete. You’ll get a plan ID card to use when filling prescriptions in January.

If you qualify for Extra Help due to limited income and resources, you can enroll in Part D anytime. Extra Help pays for premiums, deductibles, and copays.

Having the right Part D plan makes medications affordable and saves money over time. Carefully evaluate plans each year.

Frequently Asked Medicare Enrollment Questions

Confused about when to enroll or how the parts of Medicare work? Here are answers to some frequently asked questions:

Can I enroll late?

Yes, you can enroll late in Medicare but may face lifelong penalties. It’s best to sign up during your initial period.

Do I need Part B?

Most people need Part B to get full outpatient coverage. Delaying enrollment leads to late penalties.

What’s the difference between Parts C and D?

Part C are Medicare Advantage plan that bundles Parts A and B. Part D adds prescription drug coverage.

Can I switch plans?

Yes, you can switch between Original Medicare, Part D plans and Medicare Advantage plans at certain times of year.

Where can I get help enrolling?

Contact Medicare at 1-800-MEDICARE or your State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP) for free enrollment help.

What if I can’t afford premiums?

There are programs like Extra Help and Medicare Savings Programs to assist low-income beneficiaries in paying Medicare costs.

Following this AARP guide will give you a strong understanding of Medicare enrollment. Carefully review your options and choose the coverage that best fits your health needs and budget. With the right information, you can smoothly transition onto Medicare when you reach age 65 and beyond.

FAQ

Q: Who is eligible for Medicare?

A: Generally, you are eligible for Medicare if you are 65 or older or have a qualifying disability or end-stage renal disease. People younger than 65 may qualify for Medicare based on disability or other conditions.

Q: When should I enroll in Medicare?

A: If you are turning 65, your Initial Enrollment Period is the 7 months around your 65th birthday – the 3 months before, the month of your birthday, and the 3 months after. It’s important to enroll on time to avoid late penalties.

Q: What are the late enrollment penalties for Medicare?

A: If you don’t sign up for Medicare Part B when first eligible, you may pay a 10% penalty for each year you delay, which is added to your monthly premiums. Delaying Part D prescription coverage also incurs a penalty equal to 1% of the premium for every month you were eligible but didn’t enroll.

Q: How do I compare Medicare plans?

A: Use Medicare.gov to compare plans in your area based on costs, coverage, quality ratings, and extra benefits. Medicare also has a Plan Finder tool to find Part D drug plans that cover your medications.

Q: Can I get help enrolling in Medicare?

A: Yes, you can contact Medicare at 1-800-MEDICARE or your State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP) to speak to someone who can assist you with Medicare enrollment questions for free.

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