Do I Need A Medicare Supplement?
The Medicare Advantage program is open to everyone, regardless of age. You don't need to be retired. You don't need to have health problems. You just need to be eligible for Medicare A and B or if you're on Medicare A, you must be enrolled in a Medicare approved prescription plan.
Can I still use the Medicare Advantage program if I have Medicare Part D?
Yes. You can use the Medicare Advantage program to pay for any prescription drugs not covered by Medicare Part D. If the prescription drug plan you chose doesn't cover the drug you need, you can use your Medicare Advantage plan to pay for it.
You can also use Medicare Advantage to pay for prescription drugs that are covered by your Part D plan, but that aren't available in your area. For example, if you live in a small town and the only pharmacy that carries your drug closes, you can use Medicare Advantage to pay for that drug.
How do I enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan?
You can use a free service called the Medicare Plan Finder to discover what Medicare Advantage plans are available in your area of the country.
There are other ways to enroll, but each state has different deadlines and requirements. You can enroll through the mail, through the telephone or in person. You can also search for local community-based organizations, known as Local Coordinated Care Organizations (LCCOs), which can help you enroll. Some LCCOs may even hold special events to help you enroll.
How do I get a Medigap policy?
If you're enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan, you won't need a Medigap policy. However, if you're in traditional Medicare, you can still buy a Medigap policy.
Medicare supplemental insurance (Medigap) helps pay for the out-of-pocket costs of Part A and B. Medigap policies also have a lot of other benefits, such as paying for your coinsurance, deductibles and copayments for medical care. For example, if you have a Medigap policy with a $1,000 deductible, your deductible will be met if you spend $1,000 or more on the Medicare-covered services during that calendar year.
Your Medigap policy also helps pay for the coinsurance, copayments and deductibles for prescription drugs, but you'll still have to pay the 20 percent coinsurance for each prescription drug. A Medigap policy can also pay for some services and supplies not covered by traditional Medicare or Medicare Advantage plans, such as eyeglasses.
To compare Medigap plans, use the Medicare Plan Finder. You'll find a list of all of your Medicare plan options and a list of available Medigap plans. You'll see how much each plan costs, how much coverage it offers, what the plan covers, how much it pays toward coinsurance and if it offers a prescription drug plan.
When does Medicare Advantage coverage start?
Coverage usually starts the first day of the month after you enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan, but it may be delayed for up to three months. This delay is called a "deductible period." It means you'll have to pay your Medicare Part B premium and Part A and Part B deductibles before your plan starts paying for your health care. This delay allows you to make a more informed choice about your Medicare Advantage plan.
What happens if I decide to switch Medicare Advantage plans?
If you decide to leave a Medicare Advantage plan you're in and switch to another Medicare Advantage plan, your new plan will cover you from the first day of the month you enroll in the new plan. This is known as "guaranteed coverage."
If you're enrolled in traditional Medicare, your new plan will start paying for your health care services 30 days after you enroll.
What if I decide to join traditional Medicare instead of a Medicare Advantage plan?
It's not uncommon for people to enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan, get some health care services, and then decide to change to traditional Medicare. If you change from a Medicare Advantage plan to traditional Medicare, you'll have a new three-month deductible period. This means you'll have to pay your Medicare Part B premium and Part A and Part B deductibles before traditional Medicare starts paying for your health care.
If you have a Medigap policy, you must cancel it before your Medicare Advantage plan will pay for your health care services. Medigap plans are not allowed to pay for health care services if you're getting Medicare benefits.
Is Medicare Advantage insurance?
Some people think that Medicare Advantage is only supplemental insurance. Medicare Advantage is more than that. Medicare Advantage is a Medicare health plan and is regulated by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). It has the same coverage as traditional Medicare.
How do I get help with Medicare?
You can call the Medicare help line at 1-877-690-1012 (TTY number: 1-877-690-1012), and an agent will help you understand your Medicare benefits and you can also help you enroll in a Medicare plan.
If you live in the United States and you don't speak English well, you can call this number and an interpreter will help you.
If you live outside the United States, you can call this number and an interpreter will help you.
If you need help from someone who speaks a language other than Spanish or an interpreter, call the Federal Relay Service at 1-877-690-1012.
You can also contact your State Health Insurance Assistance Program. These programs are known as SHIPs and are funded by CMS. They can help you understand your Medicare benefits and you can also help you enroll in a Medicare plan.
Find a Medicare plan
Medicare Plan Finder