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A doctor helps a new patient understand Medicare, how to enroll, and her payment options.

En español | If you are new to Medicare or have had it for a while, let AARP's Medicare Question and Answer Tool help you to clarify the available options offered through the Medicare program. If your answers require a deeper insight into Medicare, such as plan choices, how to enroll and what Medicare costs, AARP's online resource can help shed light on eligibility requirements and present answers to your questions about Medicare in an easy-to-understand manner. AARP's Medicare Question and Answer Tool is a starting point toward an informed decision about you and your Medicare coverage.

 

 

 

What is Medicare? Q & A Home

 

Q: What is Medicare?

A: Medicare is a federal health insurance program for people who are age 65 and over, for some younger people receiving Social Security disability benefits. — Read full answer

 

Q: What are the different parts of Medicare?

A: There are different parts to Medicare: Part A (hospital insurance), Part B (medical insurance), Part C (Medicare Advantage) and Part D (prescription drug coverage). — Read Full Answer

 

Q: What is the difference between Medicare and Medicaid?

A: Medicare is a federal health insurance program for people who are age 65 and over. Medicaid, a state and federal program, provided health coverage for people with lower incomes. — Read Full Answer

 

Q: What is Original Medicare?

A: Original Medicare is a fee-for-service health plan. This means you can choose any doctor or hospital and Medicare will pay its share of the doctor or hospital bill. — Read Full Answer

 

Q: What is Medicare Advantage?

A: Medicare Part C (also known as Medicare Advantage plans) is an alternative to Original Medicare and is offered by private companies. — Read Full Answer

 

Q: What is Medigap (Medicare Supplemental) insurance?

A: A Medigap policy, sold by private insurance companies, can help pay some of the health care costs (“gaps”) Original Medicare doesn’t cover. — Read Full Answer

 

Q: When do I qualify for Medicare?

A: Most people 65 or older are eligible for Medicare hospital insurance (Part A) based on their own — or their spouse's — employment. — Read Full Answer

 

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

A: You will receive Medicare benefits after you receive disability benefits for 24 months. — Read Full Answer

 

Q: I will be turning 65 in a few months. When should I sign up for Medicare?

A: The best time to sign up for Medicare is three months before your 65th birthday. You should receive a Medicare card about two months before you turn age 65. Your coverage will begin at age 65. — Read Full Answer

 

Q: How do I enroll in Medicare?

A: You can file for Medicare online at www.ssa.gov. If you do not wish to apply online, you can make an appointment to enroll by calling Social Security at 800-772-1213. — Read Full Answer

 

 

Q: What does Medicare generally cost?

A: Generally, how much you pay for Medicare depends on: Which Medicare plan you choose; how often you go to the doctor or hospital; whether you have other health insurance; and whether you qualify for help with Medicare costs. — Read Full Answer

 

Q: How do I order a replacement Medicare card?

A: You can request a replacement Medicare card by contacting Social Security at www.ssa.gov. — Read Full Answer

 

Q: When do I contact the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) for my Medicare-related questions?

A: Contact the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services for help and information on: Medical services that Medicare covers; choosing a Medicare Part D drug plan; and choosing a Medicare Advantage health plan, in addition to a host of other Medicare related resources. — Read Full Answer

 

Q: I do not have a computer. Do I have to apply for Medicare online or can I apply in person?

A: To apply for Medicare in person, you can make an appointment by calling Social Security at 800-772-1213. — Read Full Answer

 

Q: Does Medicare cover all of my health care costs?

A: Medicare does not cover all of your health care costs. Depending on which plan you choose, you might have to share in the cost of your care by paying premiums, deductibles, copayments and coinsurance. — Read Full Answer

 

Q: I want to be sure I understand the Part D “doughnut hole” or coverage gap. Could you tell me how it works?

A: There is a coverage gap in Medicare Part D prescription drug plans, also known as a “doughnut hole.” Before the health care law was passed, when your total spending on prescriptions reached a certain limit, you had to pay for all of your prescription drug costs on your own.  — Read Full Answer

 

Q: Where can I find answers to my Medicare questions?

A: You can get answer to your Medicare questions at www.medicare.gov or by calling 800-MEDICARE (800-633-4227; TTY 877-486-2048). — Read Full Answer

 

Q: When do I contact Social Security for Medicare-related questions?

A: Contact the Social Security Administration for help and information about the following: eligibility for Medicare; enrolling in Medicare Part A (hospital insurance) and Part B (doctors’ visits and other outpatient services); and disenrolling from Part B, and in addition to a host of other Medicare related resources. — Read Full Answer

 

Q: Can I get help to pay for my Medicare prescription drugs if I have a low income?

A: Yes. The program that helps people with Medicare who have a low income pay for their prescription drugs is called the Extra Help program. — Read Full Answer

 

  

Rights and Protections Q & A Home

 

Q: What are the basic rights and protections for people with Medicare?

A: No matter what type of Medicare coverage you have, you have certain rights and responsibilities. — Read Full Answer

 

Q: What does it mean when doctors “opt out” of Medicare?

A: Some doctors “opt out” of Medicare. Medicare won’t pay for any of the care you get from doctors who “opt out” of Medicare. They can charge you whatever they want for their services, but only if you sign a contract with them before they provide the services. — Read Full Answer

 

Q: My doctor told me that he doesn’t take Medicare assignment. Can you explain what this means?

A: Generally, providers who accept Medicare are required by law to file Medicare claims for covered services for people with Medicare. — Read Full Answer

 

Q: Is my doctor required to file my Medicare claims or do I file claims with Medicare directly?

A: Generally, providers who accept Medicare are required by law to file Medicare claims for covered services for people with Medicare. — Read Full Answer

 

Q: Will my Medicare Prescription Drug Plan notify me if its list of covered drugs (formulary) changes?

A: If you are taking the drug, Medicare requires your plan to notify you 60 days prior to the change or, at the time of refill, provide you a 60-day supply, if prescribed. — Read Full Answer

 

 

 

Where To Get Help Q & A Home

 

Q: How do I find an insurance company that is approved to sell Medicare Supplemental (Medigap) plans?

A: Your state insurance department will have a list of companies approved to sell Medicare Supplemental plans. You can also call Medicare at 800-MEDICARE (800-633-4227) to get the same information. — Read Full Answer

 

Q: What is the role of the State Health Insurance Counseling and Assistance Program (SHIP)?

A: The State Health Insurance Counseling and Assistance Program (SHIP) provides free help to people with Medicare who have problems with, or questions about, their health insurance. — Read Full Answer

 

Q: How do I contact the State Health Insurance Counseling and Assistance Program (SHIP) in my state?

A: The State Health Insurance Counseling and Assistance Program (SHIP) provides free help to people with Medicare who have problems with, or questions about, their health insurance. — Read Full Answer

 

 

 

Reporting Medicare Fraud Q & A Home

 

Q: Who do I contact to report Medicare fraud?

A: Contact Medicare at 800-MEDICARE (800-633-4227). If the fraud you report is confirmed, you may get up to $1,000 as a reward. — Read Full Answer

 

Q: Do I have to identify myself if I report Medicare fraud to the Inspector General?

A: No, you do not have to identify yourself when you report Medicare fraud. You will need to provide specific information about why you think Medicare shouldn’t pay a claim. — Read Full Answer

 

 

 


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