Congratulations! If you’ve enrolled successfully, you should receive your Medicare card and Medicare & You official handbook in about two weeks. You can also do many things on your own to help you get off on the right foot.
1. Schedule a Welcome to Medicare visit with your doctor
This free, preventive, comprehensive exam is available only the first year you enroll. But it will serve as a baseline for comparing your health during annual wellness visits that Medicare will pay for later.
2. Create a secure online account
You’ll need your Medicare number to create a Medicare account, which is different from the online Social Security account that you might have used to sign up for Medicare. Once done, you can access your health info, pay premiums, view original Medicare claims, print a Medicare card and get program updates and alerts.
3. Sign up a proxy, if you wish
You must submit an authorization form if you want a loved one to be able to speak with Medicare on your behalf. This is a separate legal form from any paperwork you might have filed to allow a health care proxy or surrogate to make medical decisions for you if you’re not able.
4. Alert your pharmacy and doctors’ offices
Make sure they know you’ve joined Medicare, have your Medicare card, and have information from your Part D prescription plan card. This will avoid the possibility of your former insurer wrongly getting billed.
5. Consider going paperless
You can get your Medicare & You handbook, as well as Medicare summary notices (MSNs), electronically. It’s an option in your online Medicare account.
6. Study up on how coverage works
This will be especially important if you have secondary insurance, such as a newly purchased Medigap supplemental policy, a private retiree plan, federal health benefits or Tricare military health insurance. If Medicare is your primary insurer, it will pay up to the limits of its coverage, then send the rest to the secondary payer to cover all or most of what remains.
If you’re a veteran who qualifies for U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) health care, you have additional options within that separate system. If you’re living outside the United States, you may not be able to use all Medicare services.