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Frequently Asked Questions

Medicare can be confusing, which leads to needing to ask a lot of questions to get a better understanding of what your needs and wants are. We have put together a list of some of the questions we get most often, and the responses we most commonly give. If you have a question that you don't see on our list, please reach out and give us the opprotunity to address it.

What is Medicare and who can get it?

Medicare is our country’s health insurance program. Although most commonly used by people age 65 or older, some younger people are eligible for Medicare, too. Those include people with disabilities, permanent kidney failure and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (Lou Gehrig’s disease). Medicare helps with the cost of health care, but it does not cover all medical expenses or the cost of most long-term care. Medicare has four parts:

  • Part A—Hospital insurance;
  • Part B—Medical insurance;
  • Part C—Medicare Advantage; and
  • Part D—Prescription drug coverage.

See the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services for more information.

What are Medicare late enrollment penalties?

In most cases, if you don’t sign up for Medicare when you’re first eligible, you may have to pay a higher monthly premium.

More information on Medicare late enrollment penalties:

Will my Medicare premiums by higher because of my higher income?

Some people with higher income may pay a larger percentage of their monthly Medicare Part B and prescription drug costs based on their income. We call the additional amount the income-related monthly adjustment amount. Visit Medicare Premiums: Rules For Higher-Income Beneficiaries to see if the adjustment amount applies to you.

I am approaching 65 and plan on continuing to work, do I need to sign up for Medicare?

Several factors determine your requirement for signing up for Original Medicare Parts A and B.

What is TRICARE?

TRICARE is the health care program serving military service members, retirees, their families and survivors worldwide. 

Can I enroll in Medicare with a Health Savings Account?

A health savings account (HSA) allows you to put aside money that isn’t taxed if you have a high-deductible health plan. Once you enroll in Original Medicare — Medicare Part A and Part B — you can no longer contribute to an HSA.

If you plan to delay enrolling in Medicare until you stop working, be sure to stop contributing to your HSA six months or more before you plan to enroll in Medicare to avoid a tax penalty.

Do I have to be on Social Security to get Medicare?

You do not have to be on Social Security before you can get Medicare. But you will have to enroll on your own. This means applying for Medicare during your initial enrollment period. This is a seven-month period including your 65th birth month plus the three months before and after it.

You may be responsible for a permanent surcharge on your Medicare Part B and Part D premiums if you miss that window.

You can enroll in Medicare through the Social Security website.

How do I qualify for Medicare’s Extra Help Program?

To qualify for Medicare’s Extra Help program, you must meet certain financial need requirements.

For 2022, your annual income must be limited to $19,320 for an individual and $26,130 for a married couple living together. And there are limits regarding your financial resources as well.

Financial resources Medicare considers for Extra Help eligibility include:

  • Real estate other than your primary residence
  • Bank accounts including checking, savings and certificates of deposit
  • Stocks
  • Bonds, including U.S. Savings Bonds
  • Mutual funds
  • Individual retirement accounts (IRAs)
  • Cash

If you meet the eligibility requirements and enroll in an Extra Help program, it could be worth about $5,000 a year.

You can apply for Medicare Extra Help at your local Social Security office, by calling Social Security at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY at 1-800-325-0778) or at the Social Security website.

I‘m receiving a lot of letters and post cards in the mail about Medicare and my enrollment choices; what should I do with all these?

The letters are likely sales ploys to try to engage you to meet with or purchase Medicare related coverage from agents or insurance companies.  You can discard the majority of them but if any of the letters bring you cause  for concern, I would love to schedule you a complementary consultation to have them reviewed with a licensed agent who focuses on Medicare related coverages.

Do I need to sign up to start my Medicare benefits?

For some, benefits are automatically activated. Others will have to manually register if they want to start. Let me connect you with an agent so they can assess your situation.

How do I know what Medicare plan is right for me?

There is a wide range of options available to you, and there is no two individuals’ medical and financial needs are the same.  Our Medicare agents are licensed with several different companies and in all major product lines to stay completely carrier agnostic and show side by side comparisons. Would you like me to schedule you a meeting to review all your options?

I only have Part A of Medicare; how do I start my Part B benefits?

There is some paperwork that you and your employer will need to fill out. We have copies of this in our office and our advisors will be here to assist you in filling it out.

Can I make changes to my Medicare Advantage or Part D (prescription Drug) plans?

These plans can only be modified during the Annual Election Period, OCT 15th – DEC 7th, unless you have a unique circumstance to qualify for a Special Election Period.  We can review your qualifications and if you are not eligible for a SEP, I am happy to add you to our contact list and reach out to you when that time gets closer.

Can I make changes to my current Medicare Supplement plan?

Yes! You can make changes to these plans any day of the week, any time of the year, however, (depending on your residential state) you may need to answer some simplified underwriting questions about your health and current medications to qualify for your requested changes. Could I connect you with an agent to get some more details?