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Health Care Reform:

Health Insurance & Affordable Care Act

Enrolling in Medicare

Step 3 for Medicare Enrollment continued...

If you are in a Medicare Advantage Plan, you cannot also have a Medigap policy. Medicare Advantage plans cover some of the same benefits that a Medigap plan offers.

Once you join a plan, you are typically locked in for the calendar year. You will be allowed to switch plans between October 15 and Dec. 7 each year during the Medicare Annual Enrollment Period.

To learn about Medicare Advantage plans offered in your area, you can use the online Medicare Personal Plan Finder.

Medicare for People With Disabilities

If you are under age 65, you are eligible for Medicare if:

  • You are disabled and are getting Social Security disability payments
  • You have Lou Gehrig's disease (ALS)
  • You have kidney failure (end-stage renal disease) and you need dialysis or a kidney transplant

Keep in mind that there may be a waiting period before you can start receiving Medicare, depending on your illness. You can enroll in Medicare by calling or visiting your local Social Security Office or by calling Social Security at 1-800-772-1213.

Step 4 for Medicare Enrollment

Medicare Part D provides you with insurance coverage for brand name and generic prescription drugs. Medicare works with insurers and other private companies to offer a number of different plans.

You have quite a few options. You can:

  • Buy a plan that offers the drug benefit alone
  • Choose a Medicare Advantage plan that includes prescription drug benefits
  • Keep an existing Medigap plan that covers prescription drugs; people enrolled in Medigap plans with drug coverage cannot also enroll in a Medicare Part D prescription drug plan.
  • Keep the prescription drug benefits you get from your employer or other health plan (instead of getting drug benefits from Medicare)

Compare the various plans that are available in your area and enroll with the Medicare plan finder at or call (800) MEDICARE.

Free personalized counseling services are also available through State Health Insurance Assistance Programs, or call (800) 677-1116.

With new health care laws, Medicare changes may affect you.


WebMD Medical Reference

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