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Medicare Made Easy - Medicare Infographic | 888-909-9387 |

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For some, Medicare can seem a complicated health system to comprehend. This infographic, however, paints a clearer picture of Medicare with straightforward information on how to apply.

Why should Medicare matter to you?

Some of you are over 65 or turning 65 soon and will eventually qualify for Medicare, or you may be a caregiver to an elderly parent in this age range. Over 10,000 baby boomers are turning 65 every day and a good portion of this group is unsure about qualifying for Medicare benefits. Learning about how you can benefit from, and plan for, Medicare will save you or a loved one from complications in the future.

The main components of Medicare are:

  • Part A (Hospital Insurance) helps pay for inpatient hospital care, skilled nursing care, hospice care and other services. This part is normally paid for by a portion of Social Security tax.
  • Part B (Medical Insurance) helps pay for doctors' fees, outpatient hospital visits, and other medical services and supplies that are not covered by Part A. This part is optional and is paid for by the monthly premiums of people enrolled and by general funds from the U.S. Treasury. 
  • Part C (Medicare Advantage) plans allow you to choose to receive all of your health care services through a provider organization.  These plans may help lower your costs of receiving medical services, or you may get extra benefits for an additional monthly fee.  You must have both Parts A and B to enroll in Part C.
  • Part D (Prescription Drug Coverage) is voluntary and the costs are paid for by the monthly premiums of enrollees and Medicare.  Unlike Part B, you are automatically enrolled and must opt out if you do not want it. With Part D you have to opt in by filling out a form and enrolling in an approved plan.

There are also optional Medicare Supplemental Insurance Plans (Medigap). They are not a government benefit, like Original Medicare. They are specific insurance plans sold by private companies that cover “gaps” in your Medicare coverage. There are ten standard plans available, "A" through "N”. Not all plans are available in all states.

You may automatically qualify or become eligible to enroll for Original Medicare if you are 65 or older or are under 65 with certain disabilities/diseases. You can sign up when you are eligible for Part A and/or Part B during your Initial Enrollment Period of 7 months. If you are eligible when you turn 65, you can sign up during the 7-month period that begins 3 months before the month you turn 65, including the month you turn 65, and ends 3 months after the month you turn 65.

If you did not sign up for Medicare Part B when you first became eligible, you may be able to sign up during the General Enrollment Period. This period runs from January 1 through March 31 of each year. During this time, you can sign up for Medicare Part B at your local Social Security office. Your Medicare Part B coverage will start on July 1 of the year you sign up.

If you plan on switching to or from Part C (Medicare Advantage) or want to change Part D (Prescription Drug Coverage), there are enrollment periods that last from October 15th to December 7th and January 1st to February 14th.

Medicare Open Enrollment Period (October 15 – December 7) allows you to:

  • Change from Original Medicare to a Medicare Advantage Plan.
  • Change from a Medicare Advantage Plan back to Original Medicare.
  • Switch from one Medicare Advantage Plan to another Medicare Advantage Plan.
  • Switch from a Medicare Advantage Plan that doesn’t offer drug coverage to a Medicare Advantage Plan that offers drug coverage.
  • Switch from a Medicare Advantage Plan that offers drug coverage to a Medicare Advantage Plan that doesn’t offer drug coverage.
  • Join a Medicare Prescription Drug Plan.
  • Switch from one Medicare Prescription Drug Plan to another Medicare Prescription Drug Plan.
  • Drop your Medicare prescription drug coverage completely.

From January 1 – February 14:

  • If you’re in a Medicare Advantage Plan, you can leave your plan and switch to Original Medicare. Your Original Medicare coverage will begin the first day of the following month.
  • If you switch to Original Medicare during this period, you will have until February 14 to also join a Medicare Prescription Drug Plan to add drug coverage. Your prescription drug coverage will begin the first day of the month after the plan gets your enrollment form.

There are also other Special Enrollment Periods (SEPs) where you can make changes to your Medicare Advantage and Medicare prescription drug coverage. SEPs occur when certain events happen in your life, such as when you relocate or you lose other insurance coverage. Rules about when you can make changes and the type of changes you can make are different for each SEP. These chances to make changes are in addition to the regular enrollment periods that happen each year. For more information about SEPs, call 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227).

To enroll through the U.S. Social Security Administration

  1. Online – if you are seeking Medicare through retirement go to or through disability go to
  2. Phone – Apply by phone by calling 1-800-772-1213; if deaf/hard of hearing call 1-800-325-0778
  3. Person – Call 1-800-772-1213 to schedule an appointment

All specific questions about your claims, medical records, or expenses, visit, or call 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227).

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