Applying for Medicare is easier and more straightforward than you might think. In this quick guide, we’ll demystify the Medicare application process, by:
- Providing a simple overview of how Medicare is structured
- Describing the steps you need to take when applying for Medicare in its basic form
- Exploring your options if you’re looking for additional coverage
WHAT DO ALL THESE MEDICARE PARTS MEAN?
If you’ve spent any time researching Medicare, you’ll probably have noticed that it isn’t one thing and that it’s broken down into four sections, described as parts. What are these Medicare parts, and why is understanding them essential when applying for Medicare?
First, you have parts A and B. You can think of these as the essential elements of medical insurance. Part A focuses on hospital costs, such as inpatient care, and in-hospital nursing care. Part B deals with standard medical insurance costs, such as the costs associated with doctors’ visits, outpatient care, standard health preventive services, and expenses for medical supplies.
Part D of Medicare is all about prescription drugs. Many medications (but not all) are covered under part D of the Medicare plan.
Part C is also known as Medicare Advantage. This is an all-in-one package that can include parts A, B, and usually Part D of Medicare. It often also includes additional coverage for dental, vision and hearing aids.
APPLYING FOR MEDICARE PARTS A AND B
Now you know that Parts A and B of Medicare refer to your essential medical insurance coverage. How do you apply for this basic medical coverage?
If you currently receive Social Security benefits, you’re automatically enrolled. You should receive a Medicare card, and you’ll be able to access Part A and B Medicare services.
If you don’t receive Social Security benefits, simply sign up at a Social Security office, or fill out an enrollment application online.
The minimal necessary documentation you’ll require are:
- Your Social Security card
- An original birth certificate
- Proof of U.S. citizenship
- A copy of your W2 form
Note that there are specific periods each year when you can change your enrollment details. The Medicare website can give you clear guidance on when and how you can change your enrollment.
SEEKING EXTRA COVERAGE
Let’s say you’re looking for extra coverage. Perhaps you’re keen to take advantage of prescription drug coverage, or you want additional insurance to cover your dental health. This is where a Medicare Advantage plan (also referred to as Part C of Medicare) is a great option to consider.
Medicare Advantage plans are provided through private, Medicare-approved insurance companies, so the application process is a little different.
Fortunately, figuring out your eligibility and your process for applying for Medicare is just as simple. Anthem’s Medicare application guide will walk you through every step of the process, from choosing a plan that covers your health requirements to understanding the Medicare Advantage enrollment process.
FIND WHAT WORKS BEST FOR YOU
Applying for Medicare needn’t be a chore. Moreover, one of the great things about Medicare is that it isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution. Whatever your budget or health circumstances, there’s a Medicare plan that can fit with your lifestyle.