Original Medicare is a federal health insurance program for people 65 and older, people with certain disabilities, and people with end-stage renal disease (ESRD). It has two parts:
- Part A covers inpatient hospital stays, skilled nursing facility care, hospice care, and some home health care.
- Part B covers doctor visits, outpatient care, medical supplies, and preventive services.
To sign up for Original Medicare, you can:
- Apply online at the Social Security website.
- Call the Social Security Administration at 1-800-772-1213.
- Visit your local Social Security office.
If you are already receiving Social Security benefits, you will automatically be enrolled in Part A. You will need to sign up for Part B separately.
When to sign up for Original Medicare
You can sign up for Original Medicare during the following times:
- Initial Enrollment Period (IEP): This is a seven-month period that starts three months before your 65th birthday, includes the month of your birthday, and ends three months after your birthday.
- General Enrollment Period (GEP): This is a four-month period that runs from January 15 to March 31 each year.
- Special Enrollment Period (SEP): If you have a qualifying event, such as a change in income, a move, or a loss of other health insurance, you may be able to sign up for Medicare during a Special Enrollment Period.
Cost of Original Medicare
Part A is premium-free if you or your spouse has worked and paid Medicare taxes for at least 40 quarters (10 years). If you don’t have enough work credits, you will have to pay a monthly premium.
Part B has a monthly premium of $174.20 in 2023. You may also have to pay a yearly deductible of $235.
Medicare Supplement Insurance
Medicare Supplement Insurance, also known as Medigap, can help you pay for some of the costs that Original Medicare doesn’t cover, such as copays, deductibles, and coinsurance. There are 10 different Medigap plans available, each with its own set of benefits.
Medicare Advantage Plans
Medicare Advantage Plans are private health insurance plans that offer all of the benefits of Original Medicare, plus additional benefits, such as prescription drug coverage. There are many different Medicare Advantage Plans available, so you can choose one that fits your needs and budget.
Choosing the Right Medicare Plan
There are many factors to consider when choosing a Medicare plan. You will need to think about your health needs, your budget, and your lifestyle. You may also want to talk to a Medicare specialist to get help choosing the right plan for you.
For more information about Original Medicare, please visit the Social Security website or call the Social Security Administration at 1-800-772-1213.