Navigating the Medicare Maze
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Navigating the Medicare Maze

Navigating the Medicare Maze

The medicare system is complicated, but by learning the basics you can save money and ensure that you get the health care that you prefer. Here are some frequently asked questions, and their answers, about Medicare that will help you to plan and navigate the system.

  • What are the “parts” of Medicare?
    • Medicare Part A is hospital insurance. It helps to cover care provided in hospitals, skilled nursing care, hospice and palliative care, as well as home skilled nursing care in some circumstances.
    • Medicare Part B is medical insurance. It helps to cover
      • Services from doctors and other health care providers
      • Outpatient services
      • Annual wellness visits for physical exams, as well as preventative services such as immunizations
      • Durable medical equipment, such as wheelchairs, hospital beds, power chairs, and other mobility aids.
    • Medicare Part D is prescription drug coverage. This is purchased through private insurance companies. Medicare Advantage plans, also sometimes called Part C, are Medicare approved plans from private insurance companies that you can take instead of A and B. They may offer extra benefits.


  • How and when do I enroll in Medicare?
    • Your initial enrollment period begins three months before your 65th birthday, and ends three months after your birthday month. If you’re already receiving Social Security benefits, you will be automatically enrolled in Part A and Part B on the first day of the month you turn 65.


  • Can I wait to enroll in Medicare?
    • In most cases, to avoid penalties, you should not delay. Waiting a year or more after your initial enrollment period will cause a 10% higher premium for each year y