Medicare and WellSpan

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Parts of Medicare

Medicare is divided into four parts: A, B, C and D.

Original Medicare consists of Parts A and B. Choosing Part B coverage may come with premiums, which would be automatically deducted from your monthly Social Security check.

  • Part A: This portion covers hospital services such as hospital stays, skilled nursing and hospice services.
  • Part B: Described as medical insurance, this portion covers doctors' services and outpatient care. Part B may cover medically necessary services and prescriptions that may not have been covered by Part A.

Optional parts of Medicare can help you offset some of the out-of-pocket costs not covered under Original Medicare. Part C and Part D plans are available for purchase.

  • Part C: You can choose a Managed Medicare (MM) or Medicare Advantage (MA) plan from a private insurer. This provides the same coverage as Parts A and B. It may also cover aspects of Part D. Additional coverage may also be included in an MM or MA plan.
  • Part D: Coverage for prescription drugs is available to everyone with Medicare Part D.

Turning age 65

Three months before your 65th birthday, your Medicare Initial Enrollment Period begins. This period includes your birthday month and ends three months after you turn age 65. If you’re still working and have employer-sponsored insurance, you can choose to delay your Medicare enrollment.

Disability

If you have a specific ongoing disability, you may be able to enroll in Medicare before turning age 65.

Special qualifying events

Much like traditional commercial insurance plans, some life events may affect your Medicare status and make you eligible for a special enrollment period. These include moving to a new state or losing coverage.

Annual enrollment period (AEP)

Every year from Oct. 15 through Dec. 7, you can review your Medicare plan and make changes if needed. Your coverage choice from this time will then take effect on Jan. 1 after the AEP.

Open enrollment period (OEP)

If you’re currently enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan, you have additional time to switch to a different Medicare Advantage plan or to Original Medicare. (Note: You can only make this switch once during the OEP, which is Jan. 1 through March 31.)