Phase 4

Life on Medicare

Step 12: 3 To-Do’s Now That You Are on Medicare

Now that you are on Medicare, here are three things to keep in mind as you move through life with these benefits. 

  • Stay up to date on premium payments
    Here are some of the premiums you may see while on Medicare that you need to stay current with, otherwise, you could lose coverage and experience penalties:
      1. Medicare Part B premiums
        These are typically taken from your Social Security check if you are taking Social Security benefits. Or, if you are not taking Social Security benefits yet, Part B premiums are billed quarterly. Remember that these are based on your income. Be sure to stay current with these premiums. 
      2. Medicare Supplement premiums
        If you have a Medicare Supplement plan, be sure to stay up to date on your supplement plan premiums. With a supplement plan, you may also have separate prescription drug coverage premiums (Part D), dental premiums, vision premiums, and hearing aid coverage premiums depending on what plans you choose to get. 
      3. Medicare Advantage premiums
        73% of all Americans on a Medicare Advantage plan pay $0 premiums for their plan. However, there are some Advantage plans that do have a premium. If you have one of these plans, you will want to make sure you are current on those payments.
  • Check Providers
    Whenever possible, check to ensure that your providers are in-network before the visit.

    Advantage plans have networks.
    Going out of network means you will pay more.

    Even with a Supplement plan, check to ensure your providers participate with Medicare. There are providers who do not, which will mean you would end up paying more.

    Always check your providers.
  • Beware Medicare Marketing
    Now that you are on Medicare, it doesn’t mean that the marketing will stop. It isn’t as bad as it was when you were approaching 65 years old, but it is still really obnoxious.

    TV commercials, internet ads, emails, phone calls, and even people knocking on your door can and will happen.

    Our recommendation:

    Only communicate with your agent who helps you with Medicare and the insurance company that offers your plans. 

The last thing to remember about life on Medicare involves certain time periods that we cover in the last step – number 13.

Step 13: Important Time Periods

There are two annual time periods to remember while on Medicare. 

The Annual Enrollment Period (AEP)

Each year, from October 15th – December 7th, those on Medicare who have Medicare Advantage plans or Part D Prescription Drug plans may make changes to their plan.

During AEP, you may change from one Advantage plan to a different Advantage plan. You may change from one standalone Part D plan to another. You may move from Original Medicare and a Supplement to an Advantage plan. All of this can happen during AEP. 

Or, if you are happy with your existing plan(s), you don’t have to do anything. By doing nothing, your plans will automatically renew. 

Any changes you do make would go into effect on January 1st of the upcoming year. 

Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period
The Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period runs from January 1st – March 31st of each year. If you’re enrolled in a Medicare Advantage Plan, you can switch to a different Medicare Advantage Plan or switch to Original Medicare (and join a separate Medicare drug plan) once during this time. You can only switch plans once during this period.