About six months before you turn 65, you will be bombarded with Medicare information.   It seems very confusing!  It is actually quite simple.  You have a choice of a supplement or an advantage plan.  Which do you choose?  That depends on a number of factors and this is where an agent or broker can help you.   It doesn’t cost you anything to use an expert so please do so!

But why would you need a supplement or an advantage plan when the government gives you Medicare for free?  There are two parts to what is called Original Medicare (what the government provides).  Part A covers hospital care.  This does not cost anything.   Part B covers doctor visits, lab work, x-rays, etc.   This is $135.50 per month in 2019 for those earning less than $85,000.

The issue with original Medicare is that it only pays 20% and there is no cap.  So if you end up in the hospital with a $200,000 bill, you will owe $40,000.  Ouch!  An advantage or supplement will cap that to a very small amount.  That amount depends on the plan.  Supplements cost more but they also pay more than advantage plans.

Before you can sign up for an advantage plan or a supplement, you must sign up for Part B.  You can do that up to three months before your birthday.  You do that at

If you decide on a supplement, you must also purchase a drug plan.  Which plan depends entirely on the medications you take.  Not all plans cover all meds.  A broker or agent can find the best plan for you.

If you are over the age of 65 and want to change plans, when can you do that?  October 15 – December 7 is open enrollment for a January 1 start date.  If you have an advantage plan and want to change to a different plan and/or carrier, you can do that January 1 – March 31.  There are also special enrollment periods.  If you move to a new county, you may need a new plan and that would qualify for a special enrollment.  Again, your agent or broker can tell you what qualifies for a special enrollment.

The only thing you really need to know is to find an agent or broker to help you find the best plan for you.  You don’t need to do this on your own!  A broker or agent can make it easy for you.

Disclaimer: We do not offer every plan available in your area. Any information we provide is limited to those plans we do offer in your area. Please contact 1-800-MEDICARE to get information on all of your options.