Newly eligible for Medicare? If so, this guide is for you.
This step-by-step guide outlines the various steps you need to take to sign up for Medicare and get the right Plan for your needs and budget.
We highly recommend that you Bookmark this page as you will need to return to it after completing each step.
STEP 1 – Are you Eligible for Medicare?
If you are a US citizen and are at least 64 years 9 months old, you are generally eligible to apply for Medicare (to be more precise, you are eligible from the first of next month after turning 64 yrs 8 months) for coverage usually starting the first of the month in which you turn 65.
However, there are other circumstances which might make you eligible e.g. on SSDI for 2 years, have ALS or ESRD or are a legal permanent resident who fulfills certain conditions. If you are not sure about your eligibility, refer to Are you eligible for Medicare.
STEP 2 – Understand your health benefits from Medicare and other sources
Our FREE eBook Guide to Medicare Parts & Plans helps you understand Medicare at your leisure while offline. Click on the link to download the eBook. Feel free to share with friends and family.
What does Medicare cover?
Make sure you understand what Medicare does and does not cover. Go to Medicare Parts A, B, C and D Explained to get started.
Also go through Medicare Coverage – what is NOT included. Many people are surprised to learn that Medicare does not cover Prescription Drugs, Dental, Vision, Hearing and many other areas. Understanding your Medicare coverage will help you in making the right decisions.
How much does it Cost?
Even though Medicare is subsidized through your tax dollars, you may still need to pay premiums and other cost-sharing expenses like deductibles, copays and coinsurance. How much does Medicare cost? provides a summary of these costs to enable you to plan better.
You may want to explore channels which provide additional help and support to Medicare enrollees. Read about Medicare Savings Programs (MSPs) and related articles on Medicaid, Extra Help, SSI and PACE.
Many of us may also get some health benefits from non-Medicare sources e.g. federal employees, past employer, spouse’s employer and retirement benefits. Make sure you understand these benefits and how they may be impacted if you get Medicare. Who pays first – Medicare or other insurance describes many such situations.
STEP 3 – Sign up for Medicare Part A and/or Part B
By now, you probably know that Medicare Part A primarily provides Hospital Insurance while Part B covers Medical Insurance (doctor visits, diagnostics, durable medical equipment and more). Signing up for these Part(s) is the most important step in the process.
Where do you sign up?
Ready to sign up? You will need to go through Social Security. You may do that in person (if this option is available in your area), over the telephone or online. More details are available at Where to sign up for Medicare.
If you already receive Social Security or Railroad Retirement Benefits (RRB), you may get automatically enrolled and receive your Medicare Card in the mail.
Do not worry about Part C (Medicare Advantage), Part D (Prescription Drugs) or Medicare Supplement for the time being. We will come to them later.
Can you sign up anytime once eligible?
You may apply for Medicare coverage when first eligible or later during specific enrollment periods as described in Enrollment Periods – which one applies to you.
You may decide to sign up later if you have demonstrable equivalent coverage from other sources. Be careful as late enrollment penalties can be substantial and permanent. Read about them at Avoiding Late Enrollment Penalties.
Part A is free (monthly premium is $0) for most people eligible to enroll in Medicare. As a result, we highly recommend that you enroll in Part A as soon as possible.
You need not enroll in both Part A and Part B at the same time. You may decide to just enroll in Part A and defer your enrollment in Part B (you need to pay a monthly premium for Part B). Read more at Part B – Overview. However, if you do not enroll in time you may have to pay late enrollment penalties if you did not have equivalent coverage during the time you could have had Part B coverage but chose not to enroll.
Part B coverage is needed for enrolling in a Medicare Advantage (Part C) or a Medicare Supplement Plan. You will continue paying your Part B premiums if you enroll in either of these Plan Types.
STEP 4 – Medicare Advantage or Medicare Supplement or neither?
Now that you are enrolled into Medicare (Part A and/or Part B), take a look at your healthcare needs and budget. As we said earlier, Medicare does not cover everything. Decide whether you need to plug any gaps or enhance your coverage through a Medicare Advantage or Medicare Supplement Plan.
Medicare does not cover Part D prescription drugs. You may need to get a Part D Plan. Read more at Medicare Part D Plans for Prescription Drugs. There are late enrollment penalties associated with Part D. Make sure you enroll in time unless you have equivalent creditable coverage.
Why Medicare Advantage?
Why Medicare Supplement?
Unable to decide?
STEP 5 – Select and Enroll in the right Medicare Plan(s)
Our user-friendly website helps you get needed coverage at affordable cost with the right Medicare Plan for your needs.
Confident about what type of Plan you need?
Click on the appropriate link below, enter your zip code and click ‘Show Plans’ button on the next page. Give it a few seconds to load and display Plan data. Filter, Compare and Select.
Need to analyze your Options in more detail?
Our innovative step-by-step process helps you navigate through your choices. It outlines your options and provides personalized analysis for each one of them based on your situation, needs and preferences.
Go to https://www.lightedroadinsurance.com, enter your zip code and select ‘Guide Me’ button on the next page.
Prefer talking to a Licensed Agent?
If you have questions or are more comfortable speaking to a licensed agent, we are happy to help.
Click Request Callback to request a licensed agent to call you back.
STEP 6 – Congratulations
By completing your Medicare enrollment, you have taken an important step in protecting your future health.
Start budgeting. Even though Medicare is subsidized through your tax dollars, you may still need to pay premiums and other cost-sharing expenses like deductibles, copays and coinsurance. How much does Medicare cost? provides a summary of these costs to enable you to plan better.
Over time your healthcare needs may change, and Plans may change as well. The Annual Election Period (AEP) runs October 15th to December 7th every year. It is best practice to review available Plans and coverage during the AEP.
Enrolling in a health plan is necessary but may not be sufficient. Our FREE newsletter helps seniors lead a happy and healthy lifestyle and includes topics like health, travel, finance, food, entertainment and more. Click on https://www.lightedroadinsurance.com, scroll to the bottom of the page and sign up.
We sincerely hope to keep helping seniors with Medicare plan selection using the best tools at our disposal. If you have any suggestion, please email us at email@example.com. We would love to hear back from you.
Click here to learn more about Medicare, its various Parts, different enrollment periods and your costs.
We have also created videos to help you better understand various topics related to Medicare. Select and watch a video explaining the topic of your interest in a simple and intuitive manner.
Remember that you cannot choose just any combination of Parts and Plans. Let Lighted Road Insurance guide you step-by-step through the Medicare ecosystem and help you in selecting the right plan(s) for your needs.
Sign up for our FREE bi-weekly newsletter focused on lifestyle for the 50+. There is no obligation to enroll.
Last Updated: 01-10-2021