Medicare Open Enrollment Ends Today. Learn More

Discover if you are eligible for Medicare, how to enroll, and what Medicare covers and what it does not cover.

En español | Medicare: Am I Eligible? AARP's Medicare Question and Answer Tool works as an online planning resource, designed to assist those who are eligible for Medicare benefits as well as those who are unsure. The Medicare Q and A Tool acts also as a guide, explaining in plain English eligibility, how to enroll, when to enroll and how to choose the best plan for you. AARP's Medicare Question and Answer Tool is a starting point toward an informed decision about your Medicare coverage and your eligibility.

 

 

 

Eligibility Q & A Home

  

Q: When do I qualify for Medicare?

A: Most people qualify for Medicare benefits when they turn 65. — Read Full Answer

 

Q: If I retire at age 62 will I be eligible for Medicare?

A: Medicare benefits based on retirement do not begin until a person is age 65 or older. — Read Full Answer

 

Q: Can my family members qualify for Medicare?

A: Generally, Medicare is for individuals and does not provide family coverage. — Read Full Answer

 

Q: I am 65 and my wife is 63. When will she qualify for Medicare?

A: Most people must wait until age 65 to qualify for Medicare benefits. — Read Full Answer

 

Q: Do I automatically receive Medicare benefits if I am eligible for disability benefits?

A: When you become eligible for disability benefits, Social Security will automatically enroll you in Medicare. — Read Full Answer

 

Q: Can I get Medicare if I have kidney disease?

A: Special rules apply to enroll in Medicare for people with permanent kidney failure. — Read Full Answer

 

Q: Can I enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan if I have kidney failure?

A: People with end-stage kidney disease (ESRD) usually get their health care through Original Medicare and may enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan only in specific circumstances. — Read Full Answer

 

Q: When is the best time to buy a Medicare Supplement insurance policy?

A: Federal law guarantees you the right to buy any Medicare supplement insurance policy available where you live during the six months after you turn 65 and first enroll in Medicare Part B. — Read Full Answer

 

Q: Will I be eligible to buy a Medigap policy if I have a preexisting medical condition?

A: You have a one-time six-month Medigap open enrollment period that starts the first month you're 65 and enrolled in Part B. This period gives you a guaranteed right to buy any Medigap policy sold in your state regardless of your health status. Once this period starts, it can't be delayed or replaced. — Read Full Answer

 

Q: Can I get Medicare if I live outside the United States?

A: Medicare generally does not cover health care services outside the United States or its territories. — Read Full Answer

 

Q: Does Medicare cover me when I travel outside of the United States?

A: Medicare doesn't generally pay for medical services outside of the United States and its territories except in extremely rare circumstances. — Read Full Answer

 

 

 

Initial Enrollment Q & A Home

 

Q: How do I join a Medicare Part D prescription drug plan?

A: You can call the plan directly or use their online enrollment, if available. You can also call Medicare at 800-633-4227 (TTY 877-486-2048) or use Medicare’s online enrollment at www.medicare.gov. — Read Full Answer

 

Q: How do I know that I’m choosing a quality Medicare Part D prescription drug plan?

A: The Medicare prescription drug plan finder tool gives a star rating to Medicare drug plans and Medicare Advantage plans in order to help consumers find high quality plans in their local areas. You can also call Medicare at 800-MEDICARE (800-633-4227) to get the same information. — Read Full Answer

 

Q: Is enrollment in a Medicare Advantage plan automatic or do I need to enroll directly with the plan?

A: Medicare doesn’t automatically enroll you in a Medicare Advantage plan — you need to choose a plan and sign up directly. — Read Full Answer

 

Q: When can I join a Medicare Part D prescription drug plan?

A: If you are newly eligible for Medicare, you can enroll three months prior to the month you become eligible and up to three months after the month you become eligible — a seven-month period. — Read Full Answer

 

Q: I have Original Medicare (Part A and Part B); do I also need to enroll in Medicare Part D prescription drug coverage?

A: To have Medicare help pay for your drugs, you must join a Part D plan that provides Medicare prescription drug coverage. — Read Full Answer

 

Q: Do I have to join a Medicare Part D prescription drug plan?

A: Medicare Part D is optional. You do not have to join a Medicare prescription drug plan. But, if you later decide you want Part D coverage, and you didn’t have drug coverage as least as good as what Medicare provides, you will pay a penalty. — Read Full Answer

 

Q: Should I join a Medicare Part D prescription drug plan even if I don’t take many prescription drugs?

A: Medicare Part D prescription drug coverage can help protect you against high drug costs, if and when your prescription drug needs increase. — Read Full Answer

 

Q: How long do I have to enroll in a Medigap plan? Is there a time limit?

A: When you are first eligible for Medicare, you have a six-month Medigap open enrollment period. Once this enrollment period ends, if you cancel your Medigap policy you might not be able to reenroll at a later date. — Read Full Answer

 

 

 

Open Enrollment Q & A Home

 

Q: What actions can I take during Medicare Open Enrollment?

A: There are several actions you can take during Open Enrollment. These actions include, but are not limited to: switch from Original Medicare to a Medicare Advantage plan, switch from one Medicare Advantage plan to another Medicare Advantage plan, join a Medicare prescription drug plan, among many others. — Read Full Answer

 

Q: If I have a Medicare Advantage plan, can I switch to Original Medicare during the Open Enrollment period?

A: During the open enrollment period you will be able to stay with your current plan, switch to another Medicare Advantage plan, or select Original Medicare and a Medicare Prescription Drug Plan (Part D). — Read Full Answer

 

Q: What are my options if my Medicare Advantage plan is ending at the end of this year?

A: If your Medicare Advantage plan is ending at the end of the year, you have two options: 1. You can join another Medicare Advantage plan; and 2. You can enroll in Original Medicare. — Read Full Answer

 

Q: If I am unhappy with my Medicare Advantage plan can I switch plans?

A: Generally, if you join a Medicare Advantage plan, you can only change plans during the open enrollment period that takes place from Oct. 15 to Dec. 7 each year. — Read Full Answer

 

Q: If I am satisfied with my Medicare coverage, do I need to make any changes during Medicare’s Open Enrollment?

A: If you are satisfied with your coverage, you don’t need to make any changes. — Read Full Answer

 

Q: If I change my Medicare plan during open enrollment, when will my new coverage start?

A: If you change your Medicare coverage during Medicare's open enrollment period, your new coverage will begin on Jan. 1. — Read Full Answer

 

Q: If I change my Medicare Part D plan during Medicare's open enrollment, when will my new coverage start?

A: If you make a change to your Medicare Part D coverage during Medicare's open enrollment period, your new coverage will begin on Jan. 1. — Read Full Answer

 

Q: If I drop my Medicare Part D prescription drug coverage during Medicare’s Open Enrollment, can I pick it up in the future without a penalty?

A: Generally, unless you have coverage from another source (like your employer) if you drop Medicare Part D prescription drug coverage, you will need to pay a penalty if you later decide to enroll again. — Read Full Answer

 

Q: When and how often can I switch my Medicare prescription drug plan?

A: Generally, if you join a Medicare Part D prescription drug plan you can switch your plan during the open enrollment period, which takes place each year from Oct. 15 to Dec. 7. — Read Full Answer

 

Q: If I switch from Original Medicare with Medigap coverage to Medicare Advantage should I keep my Medigap coverage?

A: If you switch from Original Medicare to a Medicare Advantage plan, your Medigap plan won’t work with Medicare Advantage. — Read Full Answer

 

Q: If I have a Medigap plan and cancel it, can I get it back during open enrollment?

A: When you are first eligible for Medicare, you have a six-month Medigap open enrollment period. Once this enrollment period ends, if you cancel your Medigap policy you might not be able to reenroll at a later date. — Read Full Answer

 

Q: Do I have to reenroll in my Medicare Part D prescription drug plan every year?

A: If you are happy with your current plan you do not need to reenroll every year. — Read Full Answer

 

 

 

Special Enrollment Q & A Home

 

Q: I did not enroll in Medicare when I turned 65 and was first eligible. Can I sign up later?

A: Yes, but only during specific enrollment periods. You can file online for Medicare during the general enrollment period (GEP) from Jan. 1 through Mar. 31 of each year. — Read Full Answer

 

Q: I am not retiring until age 70; do I still need to sign up for Medicare at 65?

A: Some people don’t need Medicare Part B because they are still working and covered by an employer’s plan or their spouse’s health plan. However, if you do not join Part B right away and you are not covered under another health care plan, you will have a late enrollment penalty for Part B coverage if you enroll later. — Read Full Answer

 

Q: I declined enrolling in Medicare Part B when I turned 65. I am now 67. Can I still enroll in Part B?

A: Yes, but only during specific enrollment periods. You can file online for Medicare during the general enrollment period (GEP) from Jan. 1 through Mar. 31 of each year. — Read Full Answer

 

Q: Why do some people enroll in Medicare Part B after they turn 65?

A: Some people don’t need Medicare Part B because they are still covered by an employer’s plan or their spouse’s health plan. — Read Full Answer

 

Q: I lost my drug coverage from my former employer. How long do I have to sign up for Part D prescription drug plan without getting penalized?

A: If the drug coverage you had was as least as good as Medicare’s you can enroll in a Part D plan without penalty if you don’t go 63 days or longer without drug coverage. — Read Full Answer

 

 

 

Late Enrollment Q & A Home

Q: I did not sign up for Medicare Part B when I first enrolled in Medicare age 65. How much is the late enrollment penalty for Part B?

A: Generally, a 10 percent premium penalty will be added to the Part B monthly premium for each 12-month period you could have enrolled but did not. — Read Full Answer

 

Q: I lost my drug coverage from my former employer. How long do I have to sign up for Part D prescription drug plan without getting penalized?

A: If the drug coverage you had was as least as good as Medicare’s you can enroll in a Part D plan without penalty if you don’t go 63 days or longer without drug coverage. — Read Full Answer

 

Q: I did not sign up for part D when I was first eligible. Is there a penalty?

A: Generally, the penalty for signing up late is an extra 1 percent of the national base Part D premium times the number of full, uncovered months that you were eligible but didn't join a Medicare drug plan and went without other drug coverage that was at least a good as Medicare's. You will have to pay the higher premium for as long as you have Part D. — Read Full Answer

 

 

 

Penalties Q & A Home

 

Q: How much is the late enrollment penalty for Part A?

A: If you aren’t eligible for premium-free Part A, and you don’t buy it when you’re first eligible, your monthly premium may go up 10 percent. — Read Full Answer

 

Q: How much is the late enrollment penalty for Part B?

A: Generally, a 10 percent premium penalty will be added to the Part B monthly premium for each 12-month period you could have enrolled but did not. — Read Full Answer

 

Q: How much is the late enrollment penalty for Part D?

A: Generally, a penalty of 1 percent per month will be added to the Part D monthly premium for each month you could have enrolled but did not enroll or have coverage at least as good as Medicare’s, also known as “creditable coverage.” — Read Full Answer

 

 

 


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