Medicare can be hard to understand, especially if this is your first experience with it. When you’re just starting out, you probably have a lot of questions. To get you started, we’ve provided answers to some of the most frequently asked Medicare questions.

Do I qualify for Medicare?

In order to qualify for Medicare, you need to meet one of the three requirements below.

  1. You are 65 or older.
  2. You are younger than 65 but have certain disabilities or illnesses, including:
    • At least 24 months of Social Security disability benefits.
    • Disability pension from the Railroad Retirement Board.
    • You have Lou Gehrig’s disease.
  3. You have permanent kidney failure requiring dialysis or a transplant

What is Medicare Part A?

Hospital insurance that covers care including inpatient hospital stays, hospice care, nursing facility services, and in some cases, home health care.

What is Medicare Part B?

Medical insurance that covers services and supplies required to diagnose or treat a condition. These services may include lab tests, surgeries, doctor’s visits, and medical supplies. It also covers preventive services.

What is Medicare Part D?

Optional prescription drug coverage available with Medicare.

What is Medigap?

A supplemental insurance plans that helps to supplement coverage not provided by Original Medicare. This includes copayments, coinsurance, and deductibles. Medigap plans can be purchased in addition to your Medicare plan through private insurance companies.

What is Medicare Advantage?

Plans offered through private insurance companies as an alternative to Original Medicare. These plans include Medicare Parts A and B, and sometimes Part D. The benefits and costs associated with the plans vary.

When can I enroll in Medicare?

When you first become eligible you are allowed to sign up for Medicare during the 3 months prior to the month your eligibility begins through 3 months after the month you become eligible for a total of a 7-month enrollment period. This is known as your Initial Enrollment Period.

Say that you become eligible in July of this year due to one of the reasons listed in the first question, you will be able to sign up beginning in April and the deadline for enrolling in a Medicare plan will be in October.

If you do not sign up for Medicare during your initial enrollment period, you will likely have to wait until the annual enrollment period which begins in October. Exceptions, or “Special Enrollment Periods” (SEPs) may be granted if certain events happen in your life including such as moving or losing your insurance coverage.

If you or someone you know is eligible for Medicare or is about to become eligible, consider contacting HealthMarkets Insurance Agency for assistance. We have more than 3,000 licensed agents ready to compare thousands of plans to find the right one for you or your loved one. Call (800) 488-7621 or find a HealthMarkets agent near you.

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