Becoming eligible for Medicare in 2012?

If you are going to be turning 65 and are new to Medicare. This article has 10 things you should know to help you prepare.


Becoming eligible for Medicare in 2012? Learn 10 things you can do to help prepare.

Are you or a loved one becoming eligible for Medicare in this year? You’re not alone. This year, an estimated 10,000*baby boomers will turn 65 each day. Learn ten key things you can do—or for yourself or a loved one—to help be prepared when the Medicare enrollment window opens.

  1. Learn how eligibility and enrollment work. There’s an Initial Enrollment Period (IEP) around the time you become eligible (for most, their 65th birthday). Learn about IEP—and possible penalties that may apply if you miss it. Also learn how to switch plans if you change your mind.
  2. Understand the basics of Medicare. Learn how the different Medicare “parts” work and what they cover. Then start thinking about which plan(s) fit your coverage needs and your budget. This short video gives an overview of Medicare.
  3. Research plans available in your area. While Original Medicare benefits are the same nation-wide, the availability and pricing for Medicare Advantage plans (Part C), prescription drug coverage (Medicare Part D) and Medicare Supplement Insurance plans can vary by location.’s plan finder tool can help.
  4. Consider your current coverage. If you have employee or retiree health coverage, talk with your plan administrator about your choices, then compare it with Original Medicare and Medicare Advantage plans.
  5. Review the coverage you need and your budget for health care costs. Original Medicare doesn’t cover everything, so look into additional coverage if you need it. You can add a Part D plan for prescription drug coverage or apply for a Medicare Supplement plan (Medigap) to help cover some costs like copays and coinsurance. Or you may want a Medicare Advantage plan that offers medical and hospital coverage, plus benefits like drug coverage, eye care and more.
  6. If you need help paying for Medicare costs, find out if you qualify for financial assistance. To find out what programs are in your state, contact Social Security at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778), 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday, to find the Social Security office nearest you.
  7. Consider filling out an authorization form granting a trusted loved one the right to access your personal information. This step can make it easier for your caregiver to help should you need it.
  8. Get answers to your questions. Contact the Medicare helpline 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227), TTY 1-877-486-2048. You can also contact UnitedHealthcare® Medicare Made Clear to learn more 1-877-619-5582, TTY 711, 8 a.m. – 8 p.m. local time, 7 days a week.
  9. Gather the documentation you need to enroll.You’ll need:
    1. Your birth date, contact info and emergency contact information for a loved one.
    2. The policy number, group ID numbers, and any other identifying information for your current health care plan.
    3. Contact information for your current doctors and other health care providers.
    4. A list of current medications, health conditions and treatments.
    5. Bank account information, if you’d like to set up automatic payments.
  10. Make an appointment for a preventative visit.Medicare beneficiaries qualify for a one-time visit during the first 12 months they’re enrolled in Medicare.–This information was provided by Medicare Made Clear
    – Are you a senior age 65+ looking for Medicare Supplemental Insurance? Call 909-790-7748. We will explain your options and find the right plan for you.

Learn about adding or switching Medicare Advantage or Part D plans

The Medicare Annual Enrollment Period is Open through December 7. Learn about adding or switching Medicare Advantage or Part D plans.

The Medicare Annual Enrollment Period (AEP) has been open since Oct.15, but it’s closing Dec. 7. Are you interested in adding or switching Medicare Advantage (Part C) or Part D* (prescription drug coverage) for the 2012 plan year? AEP is a time when you can join, switch or drop these plans for an effective date of January 1.

How can I get a Medicare Advantage (Part C) plan during AEP?

There are a variety Medicare Advantage plan types. All Medicare Advantage plans offer medical and hospital coverage. Some offer additional benefits, like eye, hearing, or prescription drug coverage. Once you’ve researched plans available in your area (’s plan finder tool is a good place to start), you just need to contact the private insurer who provides the plan you want for details on how to enroll.

How can I add drug coverage during AEP?

You can add a Medicare Part D plan to certain types of  Medicare Advantage plans that don’t already include it. You may switch from your existing plan to a Medicare Advantage plan that has prescription drug coverage built into the benefits. Or, if you are using Original Medicare (Parts A and B), you may join a Medicare Part D plan for prescription drug coverage. See “It’s time to act” below to learn how.

Switching or Dropping Plans

If you’re an Original Medicare beneficiary joining a Medicare Advantage plan:

Medicare Advantage plan members remain enrolled in Original Medicare (and continue to pay their Part B premium), so there is no need to drop Original Medicare when you enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan.

If you have a Medicare Supplement Insurance plan, you should drop your Medicare Supplement Insurance plan once enrolled in Medicare Advantage by contacting your plan’s provider.

If you’re switching from one Medicare Advantage plan to another Medicare Advantage plan – or from one Part D plan to another Part D plan:

You need to enroll in the new plan you’ve selected by contacting the private insurance company that administers that plan. You can often enroll online, by phone or by filling out forms and sending them in. You do not need to drop your existing Medicare Advantage or Part D plan. The plan you were previously enrolled in will end automatically when your new plan begins.

– This information was provided by Medicare Made Clear – Turning 65 ? Looking for reliable Medicare Insurance? or Looking to get better rates. The Litchfield Insurance Agency assists the Beaver Medical Group in Redlands.

When deciding which plan to choose, you have a lot to consider.

Medicare Decision Road Map

Here’s a step-by-step list of the decisions you’ll need to make and what you’ll want to consider in order to make a good choice.

1. Find out what’s available in your area.

Reading this site is a good start, but you’ll want to learn more. Be proactive about investigating what’s available in your area. To find and compare plans in your area:

  • Visit Medicare’s website
  • Call the Medicare Helpline
  • Call your local State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP)

Talk to your family and friends about the Medicare coverage they have now. And if you have health care coverage through your employer, talk to your company benefits administrator about your choices.

2. Review your needs

What’s important?

While you’re doing your research, you’ll want to think about what’s important to you or your loved ones. Here are some questions to consider:

  • What is most important to you in a Medicare health plan? (Think about cost, coverage, convenience and customer service)
  • Are you eligible for any health care coverage other than Medicare, such as employer, retiree or union coverage through your or your spouse’s employer? Will you want to keep that coverage?
  • How much did you spend on health care last year? Do you expect similar costs this year?
  • How much will you have to pay? Be sure to review all of the following:
    • Monthly premiums
    • Annual deductibles
    • Copays or coinsurance for doctor visits
    • Costs associated with emergency room and hospital stays
    • Are there other health care expenses that you need to plan for (e.g., skilled nursing facility)?
    • What is the limit on your out-of-pocket costs per year (if there is one)?
  • How does health care fit into your budget? Will you need financial help to pay for Medicare premiums?
  • Are you in good health generally, or do you have chronic conditions such as diabetes, chronic heart failure or asthma?
  • Does the plan meet your current medical needs?
  • Which prescription drugs do you take regularly?
    • How much do you spend on a 30-day supply of your prescriptions?
    • Are your prescriptions included in the plans’ drug list?
  • Which doctors and hospitals do you use?
    • Do they accept the plan you are considering?
    • Is your doctor/specialist in the plan’s network (if there is one)?
    • Are you willing to change doctors to save on your health care costs?
    • Will you need a referral to visit specialists?
  • How much do you travel, and where? Do you need coverage for traveling out of state or overseas?

3. Look for a good fit for yourself or your loved one.

There’s no “one size fits all.” You have choices:

  • Do you want only Original Medicare (Part A and Part B)?
  • How about Original Medicare with a standalone Medicare Prescription Drug plan (Part D) or a MedicareAdvantage plan (Part C)?
  • Or perhaps you’ll need a Medicare Supplement Insurance (Medigap) plan to help pay for the expenses Original Medicare doesn’t cover?
  • If I get a Medicare Advantage plan, do I want it with or without prescription drugs?

4. Ask for help if you need it.

You can get help in comparing and choosing plans.

For example, financial assistance programs are available to help with the costs of Medicare for those with lower incomes. If you think you might qualify, apply as soon as you can. It can take several months to process your application, and you’ll want to find out if you’re eligible and how much help you qualify for.

5. Act quickly when the enrollment window opens and you become eligible for Original Medicare.

Don’t miss your Initial Enrollment Period (IEP). For most, your IEP begins 3 months before the month you turn 65, runs through your birth month and ends three months after your birth month.

  • Make sure your coverage begins when you want it to begin.
  • Avoid paying more in premiums because you waited.
This information was provided by Medicare Made Clear

If you or someone in your family is 65 or older and is in need of a Medicare Supplemental Plan or already has a plan, but wants to make sure that it is the right plan please give us a call or go to our website and we will
give you a quote and help you keep money in your pocket.

The Litchfield Agency – Insurance License: 0B56846
George Litchfield – 909-790-7748 or 951-314-1949

What’s New & What’s Changed for 2011 – Turning 65 and New to Medicare

Here is a quick summary of the changes to Medicare that began on January 1, 2011.

Medicare Part A

  • No changes

Medicare Part B

The following preventive services will be provided as a benefit to Part B at no cost to you:

  • Annual routine physical exam
  • Glaucoma tests
  • Smoking cessation
  • Diabetes screenings
  • Voluntary HIV screening
  • Abdominal aortic aneurysm screening
  • Cardiovascular screenings
  • EKG screening
  • Flu shot
  • Pneumococcal shot
  • Cervical and vaginal cancer screening
  • Colon cancer screening
  • Prostate cancer screenings
  • Bone mass measurement
  • Breast cancer screening
  • Diabetes self-management training
  • Medical nutrition therapy services
  • Hepatitis B shots

Medicare Advantage (Part C)

Medicare Part D prescription drug plans

  • The Medicare Part D coverage gap will shrink over time, so you don’t have to pay as much out of pocket for prescription drugs.
  • Beginning in 2011, you will pay 93% of the cost of generic drugs and about 50% of the cost of most brand-name drugs.
  • As with Medicare Advantage, in 2011, the AEP changes to October 15 through December 7.
– This information was provided by Medicare Made Clear
If you or someone you know is turning 65 and new to Medicare please feel free to call us at (888) 891-5557 to answer any questions that you may have. This call is a no obligation call.
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