As you approach age 65, it is time to determine whether you will want additional health insurance to complement original Medicare. For most seniors who enroll in Medicare Parts A and B, buying an additional policy is a good idea. Original Medicare covers approximately 80% of the cost of many health care services and supplies. In that remaining 20%, there are substantial costs, deductibles, and co-pays that can easily cost you thousands of dollars each year in of out-of- pocket medical expenses.

A Medicare Supplement policy or a Medicare Advantage Plan provides coverage for those gaps in your Medicare coverage and can save you money and concern about finances.

You are eligible to purchase a policy at various times of the year, depending on your personal situation. It can be very complicated and there are many rules set by the Center for Medicare Services (CMS).

When you are first eligible for Medicare, selecting which plan to augment your Original Medicare is an important decision. Did you know it is also an important decision for any age Medicare beneficiary because you might be able to switch plans at a variety of times during the year?

There is a variety of enrollment periods:

Initial Enrollment Period – When you activate Part B, often at age 65, but not always.
Annual Enrollment Period – Oct. 15 – Dec. 7
Open Enrollment Period (*new in 2019) – Jan. 1 – March 31 for Medicare Advantage only.
Special Enrollment Period – Anytime an individual qualifies for special enrollment accommodations.
However, most people choose a policy around the time they turn age 65 and hope to stick with it. During this time, you have Guarantee Issue, which means insurance companies cannot deny you coverage based on your health status or claim experience. It is very important to make wise decisions when you have that Guarantee Issue opportunity! Learn more from an independent agent who works for you, not the insurance company!

Hilary Greenbaum

Howard Insurance Agency for Seniors