…Medicare Part C is also known as a Medicare Advantage Plan (like an HMO or PPO) Medicare Advantage Plans, sometimes called “MA Plans,” are offered by private insurance companies approved by Medicare. If you join a Medicare Advantage Plan, the plan will provide all of your Part A (Hospital Insurance) and Part B (Medical Insurance) coverage.
Medicare Advantage Plans may offer extra coverage, such as vision, hearing, dental, and/or health and wellness programs. Most include Medicare prescription drug coverage (Part D). You can only enroll in Medicare Part C if you already have Original Medicare.
…Medicare Part D is the prescription drug portion of Medicare. Part D plans are offered by private insurance companies approved by Medicare. All plans must follow Medicare’s Part D standard. You can only enroll in Medicare Part D if you have Part A or Part B of Medicare.
…Medicare Supplements, also known as Medigap, are plans offered by private insurance companies that cover most if not all the holes in Original Medicare. When you enroll in a Medigap plan, Medicare remains your primary insurance so you can see any doctor that accepts Medicare. Below are some of the benefits of a Medigap plan.
…Medicare Advantage Plans, also known as Part C of Medicare, are plans offered by private insurance companies that take over the benefits given by Original Medicare. For more information on Medicare Advantage plans see “Part C” under “The A, B, C’s and D of Medicare” above. Below are some of the benefits of a Medicare Advantage plan.
Low to no premiums
Prescription drug coverage included in most plans
Many include preventative Dental, Vision & Hearing coverage
The Initial Enrollment Period (IEP) is the 7-month window when you first become eligible for Medicare. i.e. If your birthday is May 21st, then your IEP would begin February 1st and end on August 31st. During this period, you can enroll in Medicare Part A and Part B. As long as you enroll in Medicare Part A or B you can also enroll in a standalone prescription drug plan, Part D, during this time.
The General Enrollment Period is the time of year you can enroll in Medicare Part A and/or Part B if you did not enroll when you were first eligible. If you enroll during this time, your Medicare coverage will begin July 1st of that year. Note: If you are retiring and/or coming off your employer coverage, you will get a Special Enrollment Period (SEP). This SEP is an 8-month window beginning the day you lose employer coverage in which you can enroll in Medicare Part A & B. Coverage typically begins the same day you lose your employer coverage.
The Initial Coverage Election Period (ICEP) is a time in which you can enroll in a Medicare Advantage Plan also known as Part C of Medicare. This period typically coincides with the Initial Enrollment Period. If you enroll in Medicare Part B during the General Enrollment Period, then your ICEP will begin April 1st and end on June 30th.
The Medigap Open Enrollment Period is the time in which you can enroll in a Medicare Supplement Plan, also known as a Medigap Plan, without going through underwriting.
During this period an Insurance Company cannot refuse to sell you any Medigap Plans it offers, charge you a higher premium than they charge other people your age in your area, nor delay the start of your coverage.
This period occurs twice; once when you first turn 65 and then again when you first enroll in Medicare Part B. i.e. If your birthday is March 17th, then your Open Enrollment Period runs from March 1st – August 31st. If you enroll in Part B of Medicare when you turn 65 then you only get this period once.