Medicare FAQ

You probably have a lot of questions about Medicare.

We have a variety of articles to help you make sense of it all.

General Medicare Insurance Information

How do I enroll in Medicare?

Enrollment in Medicare depends on your circumstances. You can sign up if you are:

  • Turning 65
  • Disabled under age 65
  • Other special situation under age 65

Learn more about Medicare eligibility

How do I use my Medicare Card?

Your Medicare card indicates whether you have Part A, Part B, or both. If you enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan (Part C), they will send you an additional card.

Always carry your cards with you. If you need medical care, you will need to show them to the doctor's office, hospital, or other providers.

Can I change Medicare plans?

Yes. Medicare provides an opportunity to change your plan every year.

You can:

Learn more about Enrollment Periods.

When do my new Medicare cards arrive?

After enrolling in a new plan, you will receive your ID cards within 2-3 weeks.

How do I make a claim?

If you have Medicare Advantage or a Medicare supplement, contact your insurance company directly. Their claims department can walk you through submitting your medical bills.

What should I expect after enrolling?

After you enroll in a Medicare program with AARDY, one of our licensed Medicare client managers will reach out to you.

They can answer any other questions and provide resources.

Within a few weeks after getting a new plan, the Medicare insurance carrier will mail all your plan materials.

Why are some plans $0 premium?

Some Medicare Advantage plans have a $0/month premium.

You still must pay for Medicare Part B. However, instead of the federal government managing your coverage, your Advantage plan insurer does. The government sends your premium to the insurer in exchange for them handling your insurance.

As a result, the insurer has the freedom to provide the same or better protection for no extra monthly premium.

The drawback is they tend to have higher medication costs, deductibles, and copayments.

However, some coverage levels may cost more. It is your choice which Advantage plan works best for your needs and budget.

Does the insurer have to approve my health before I am covered?

It is possible if you want a Medigap (Medicare supplement) plan.

If you have Original Medicare and add a Medicare supplement, some insurers require underwriting if you switch to the plan. They check your medical history before issuing a policy.

However, you can avoid the underwriting process if you enroll during the Medigap Open Enrollment Period (MOEP). MOEP occurs one time for each person during a six-month window.

The law requires Medigap insurance to accept your application if you submit it during these six months. You must be age 65 or older and enrolled in Medicare Part B.

Can I change my primary care doctor?

Yes. Call your insurer on the back of your ID card and explain that you need help changing doctors.

Medicare Insurance Coverage

Does Medicare include dental?

Original Medicare does not pay for any regular dental services.

However, some Medicare Advantage plans include dental insurance.

If the plan you choose does not include dental coverage, you can buy an individual policy.

Does Medicare cover me while traveling?

Typically, no.

If you're traveling abroad, Medicare does not cover you. If you have an emergency, you will pay for all health care unless you have travel medical insurance.

Some Medicare supplements provide up to $50,000 coverage:

  • Only for emergencies
  • You pay up to $10,000 copay after a $250 deductible
  • You pay all costs over $50,000
  • No medical evacuation to bring you home

If you travel inside the US, you can seek treatment anywhere that accepts assignment from Original Medicare and Medicare supplements.

Most Medicare Advantage plans either do not cover treatment outside their network or offer limited coverage with high out-of-pocket expenses.

You can buy affordable supplemental travel medical insurance to cover those costs in case of emergency while out of state. It would also pay to evacuate you back home for further treatment.

Why buy extra coverage? Isn't Medicare Part A and Part B enough?

Medicare Part A and Part B cover many of your health care needs, but not all of them.

Part A covers most of your hospital costs, but you must pay deductibles and coinsurance. It does not cover the charges for doctor's services or the first 3 pints of blood.

Part B includes doctor's fees, but again, it only covers 80% of your Medicare-approved doctor's visits, tests, and procedures. You must pay for the other 20%. There is no out-of-pocket limit, so you could be responsible for thousands of dollars of medical treatment.

Medicare A and B do not cover prescription drugs, so you would have to sign up for a separate medication policy under Medicare Part D.

Medicare supplements help cover those most of the out-of-pocket expenses, but not prescription drugs.

Medicare Advantage (Part C) also helps cover out-of-pocket costs, but many plans include prescription drugs.

Medicare Enrollment Periods

What is the Initial Enrollment Period (IEP)?

The Initial Enrollment Period for Part A and Part B:

  • Starts 3 months before your 65th birthday
  • Includes the month you turn 65
  • Ends 3 months after the month you turn 65

After that, you can join during other times of the year, like during the Annual Enrollment Period, General Enrollment Period, or Special Enrollment Period.

What is the Annual Enrollment Period (AEP)?

As the name implies, you can make changes to your Medicare plans every year during the Annual Enrollment Period. It begins October 15 and ends December 7.

The AEP is also referred to as the Medicare Advantage and Prescription Drug Plan Annual Enrollment Period.

During the AEP, you can change:

  • From Original Medicare (Parts A and B) to Medicare Advantage (Part C)
  • From one Medicare Advantage plan to another
  • To a different Prescription Plan (Part D)

Plus, if you didn't previously have a separate Medicare Part D Prescription plan, you can add one during Annual Enrollment.

What is the General Enrollment Period (GEP)?

General Enrollment Period starts on January 1 and ends March 31 each year.

We always recommend signing up for Medicare during your Initial Enrollment Period. But if you did not, you might qualify for a Special Enrollment Period.

If all else fails, you can join Original Medicare during the GEP.

What is the Special Enrollment Period (SEP)?

A Special Enrollment Period is triggered anytime during the year by a change in status.

For example:

  • You move to a different area that offers new plans
  • You retire from your employer and leave their group plan
  • Move in or out of a nursing home
  • Changes to your Medicaid, MSP, or Extra Help eligibility status

View the full list of qualifying life events.

What is the Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period (OEP)?

Medicare Advantage policyholders enjoy a dedicated enrollment period every year between January 1 and March 31.

During this time, you can:

  • Switch to a different Medicare Advantage plan
  • Drop their Medicare Advantage plan
  • Return to Original Medicare
  • Sign up for a stand-alone Medicare Prescription Drug plan if returning to Original Medicare

What is the Medicare Supplement Open Enrollment Period (MOEP)?

Although you can join a Medicare supplement (aka Medigap) plan anytime, there is only one time when you can participate without having to answer any medical questions.

The MOEP occurs once: the Period begins the month you turn 65 and lasts for 6 months.

You also must be enrolled in Medicare Part B to qualify for this Enrollment Period.

Some states permit enrollment before age 65 and offer a second enrollment period when you turn 65. Check with your state insurance department to find out their rules.

Medicare Insurance Parts

How do I know if I have Medicare Part A and B?

On the front of your Medicare ID card, under your Medicare Number, it reads "Entitled to" and will list:

  • Hospital (Part A) and the start date
  • Medical (Part B) and the start date

Does Medicare Advantage Cover Prescription drug Coverage?

Most Medicare Advantage plans include Prescription Drug Coverage (Part D).

What is Medicare Advantage?

Medicare Advantage is an alternative way to receive your Medicare Part A and Part B coverage. You receive coverage and service through a private insurer instead of the federal government.

It includes everything Part A and Part B cover. It often has extra benefits like hearing, dental, vision, and fitness programs. Typically, they also include prescription drug coverage.

Medicare approves every insurance company and policy that offers Medicare Advantage plans.

Do I need a Prescription Drug Plan?

Medicare does not require you to enroll in a Part D Prescription Drug Plan. However, if you do not register at first and opt-in later, Medicare may charge you a penalty.

Since Medicare Part A and Part B do not cover prescription medication, you would pay for all drugs out of pocket.

AARDY recommends joining a Prescription Drug plan sooner than later. It will save you money if your doctor prescribes something new, so you do not have to pay for all of it yourself. Also, you can avoid future penalties.

What are Medicare Part A and Part B?

Medicare Part A is hospitalization insurance. It also provides benefits for skilled nursing care, hospice, and home health services.

Medicare does not require most people to pay a monthly premium unless they did not work enough before enrolling.

Medicare Part B is medical insurance that covers most doctor's services, x-rays, lab tests, ambulance services, and preventative care. Everyone pays a monthly premium for Part B.

What do Medicare Supplements cover?

Medicare supplements (also called Medigap plans) help fill the coverage gaps in Medicare Part A and Part B. Since Medicare only covers 80% of services, Medicare supplements help pay for the other 20%.

Since Medicare supplements do not include prescription drug benefits, consider adding a Medicare Prescription Drug plan.

AARDY Medicare Insurance Information

What companies does AARDY represent?

Aetna, Americo, Ameritas, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Michigan, Central United Life, Cigna, GPM Life, Humana, Manhattan Life, Mutual of Omaha, Nationwide, Silverscript, United Healthcare.

Is my information confidential?

Yes, your information is 100% confidential. We never share or sell your information and we follow all HIPAA laws.

How does AARDY pick the companies it represents?

We hand-pick insurance carriers based on their financial strength, quality of customer service, and that they consistently pay valid claims.

AARDY Can Help You Understand Medicare

AARDY is the nation's fastest Medicare insurance marketplace. You can compare Medicare supplements and Medicare Advantage plans to find the one that best fits your needs.

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