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Frequently Asked Medicare Questions
How do I sign up for Medicare after retiring?
Leaving your employer’s coverage and transitioning into Medicare as your primary insurance can be overwhelming because it is all new to you. Seniorstar Insurance can help guide you through the process to help make it easier. You can find most of the information you need about Medicare planning on our website, or by calling us at 732 658 5100.
First, you need to know that the only parts of Medicare you will enroll at your local Social Security office in Essex County is your Original Medicare Parts A & B. Other Parts of Medicare and supplemental coverage enrollments are done outside of that through an insurance agency like Seniorstar Insurance.
It’s also important to note that if you’re already taking Social Security, the government usually automatically enrolls individuals in Original Medicare Part A & Part B. Otherwise, you must enroll in Medicare by visiting the Essex County Social Security Office.
Here are a few steps you will take to get started on your journey to Medicare:
Attend our Medicare 101 event to learn the basics
Confirm you are eligible for Medicare
Read about the Medicare costs so you can be prepared for what you will pay
Apply for Medicare at the Essex County Social Security office or on their website
Receive your red, white and blue Medicare ID card (Note: Don’t forget to check for effective dates on Part A and Part B – you will need Part B if Medicare will be your primary insurance coverage)
Read about your options with Medicare Advantage plans and Medicare Supplement insurance coverage, also known as Medigap policies and learn what is available in Essex County
Learn about prescription drug coverage also known as Medicare Part D.
Connect with a licensed insurance agent at Seniorstar Insurance Group to help answer any of your Medicare questions
Review your coverage every year to make sure you have a plan that meets your needs medically (from your doctors, pharmacies, and hospitals being in-network to ensuring you’re paying the lowest cost on your prescription medications) and financially (your plan is affordable with monthly premiums and out-of-pocket expenses)
Seniorstar Insurance Group also has a New to Medicare checklist that will include helpful tips when signing up for Medicare. Click here to download your worksheet & New to Medicare checklist.
If I’m 65 and still working, should I keep my employer coverage?
If you are still working, the steps you will take to sign up for Original Medicare will be different than if you were selecting Medicare as your primary insurance. It’s not uncommon for people to work past the age of 65 and that means you have decisions when it comes to your health insurance.
We get many questions from our clients, and their friends and family like:
Do I need to keep my employer coverage and enroll in Medicare?
Is it more affordable to leave employer coverage and choose Medicare?
If I choose Original Medicare should I add a Medicare Supplement?
Answers to these questions can depend on many things, including the size of your employer and your monthly premium. The good news is Seniorstar can help walk you through your options when faced with these common questions about employer coverage vs. Medicare.
What age does Medicare start?
People who are 65 or older are eligible for Medicare, regardless of whether they are already taking Social Security income benefits. However, some people under 65 qualify for Medicare due to a disability or illness.
Do I have to enroll in Medicare when I turn 65?
No, you don’t have to enroll in Medicare when you first turn 65, but there are penalties for late enrollment unless you have creditable medical coverage (such as employer group coverage).
How do I get a new Medicare card?
You can print a copy of your red, white, and blue Medicare card by logging into your Medicare account. If your Medicare card is lost or stolen you will need a new Medicare number. If you need your name changed on your Medicare card you can also request a new card from your Social Security Administration account.
How do I sign up for Medicare?
SSA.gov has a quick online application you can complete to sign up for Medicare. The online application takes about ten minutes to complete. You do not have to be receiving income benefits to get Medicare. You can visit the Social Security website or the Essex County office to sign up.
When do I sign up for Medicare?
For most people, you will sign up for Medicare during your initial enrollment period. Your initial enrollment period is a 7-month window for which you can enroll in Original Medicare Part A and Part B to avoid late enrollment penalties. This 7-month window begins 3 months before the month you turn 65 and lasts 3 months after.
If your birth month is May, your initial enrollment period would be February through August.
If you find you have more questions about Medicare, we are here to help! You don’t have to navigate the confusion and maze known as Medicare. Contact Seniorstar Insurance or request a free consultation to discuss your next steps on your journey to Medicare. You can contact us by calling us at 732 658 5100 or by visiting us at Jamie Sholom your local Middlesex county licensed insurance agent in his office at 1405 Route 18, Suite 201, Old Bridge, New Jersey 07726.
What is a Medicare Advantage Plan?
A Medicare Advantage Plan is also known as Medicare Part C and is a type of Medicare health plan offered by a private company that contracts with Medicare to provide you with all your Original Part A and Part B benefits.
Medicare Advantage Plans include Health Maintenance Organizations, Preferred Provider Organizations, Private Fee-for-Service Plans, Special Needs Plans, and Medicare Medical Savings Account Plans.
If you’re enrolled in a Medicare Advantage Plan, Medicare services are covered through the Medicare Advantage plan and aren’t paid for under Original Medicare.
In addition to covering your hospital and medical services, like Original Medicare Part A & Part B, Medicare Advantage plans can sometimes include the following benefits:
- Dental coverage for dentures and routine services
- Vision coverage for eyeglasses, contact lenses, and routine services
- Gym memberships
- Over-the-counter allowances which can be used for vitamins, etc.
- Transportation services
- Food cards to use at your local grocery store
- And much more!
What is a Medicare Supplement?
Medicare Supplement insurance plans are also known as Medigap policies. Medigap policies do just as their name implies; they fill in the gaps left behind by Original Medicare Part A and Part B, such as your deductibles and co-insurance. A Medicare Supplement insurance plan can only be used with Original Medicare Part A and Part B. If you have enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan, you cannot purchase a Medicare Supplement unless you use an enrollment period to switch back to Original Medicare Part A and Part B.
With a Medicare Supplement insurance plan, you will need to find creditable prescription drug coverage with a stand-alone Medicare Part D plan.
Medicare Part D:
Prescription Drug Coverage
Medicare Part D is prescription drug coverage that began in 2006. Medicare Part D provides Medicare beneficiaries with coverage for their prescription medications you obtain from a pharmacy. Medicare Part D is a voluntary program and it gives you access to your medications at a more affordable rate. Unlike Original Medicare, you do not enroll in Medicare Part D through Social Security. You will choose a Medicare Part D prescription drug plan offered by a private insurance company in Essex County, New Jersey.
If Medicare is your primary coverage, you should enroll in a Medicare Part D prescription drug plan when you first become eligible at age 65. If you do not enroll in Medicare Part D when you are first eligible, you could face a late enrollment penalty that is added to your monthly premium. Some people may opt to delay enrollment into Part D until they retire. You can delay your enrollment without penalty, as long as the employer insurance coverage is considered ‘good’ or ‘better than’ Medicare Part D.