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Speak to a licensed insurance agent by calling 1-866-415-7402 TTY 711, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
What is Medicare and who is it for?
Medicare is a federal health insurance program for people who are 65 years or older. It is also for those of any age with:
- Certain disabilities lasting 24 months in a row
- Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS, or Lou Gehrig’s disease)
There are two main ways to get Medicare:
- Original Medicare (Part A and Part B), or
- Medicare Advantage (Part C)
Some people also get Medicare prescription drug coverage (Part D). It can help cover the cost of prescription drugs.
Compare your Medicare choices
Original Medicare covers hospital and medical care. Some people add a prescription drug plan or Medicare Supplement insurance.
Medicare Advantage is an all-in-one plan that usually includes hospital and medical care. Many plans also cover Part D prescription drugs, plus extras like vision, hearing and dental.
Compare Original Medicare to Medicare Advantage
- Limits what you pay each year? No
- What does it cover? Hospital and medical
- Can you add Medigap insurance? Yes
- Are prescription drugs covered? No; you can buy a Part D Prescription Drug plan.
- Can you choose your doctor and hospitals? Yes, as long as they accept Medicare.
- Are there quality of care ratings? Yes, for doctors and hospitals; visit medicare.gov.
- Limits what you pay each year? Yes
- What does it cover? Hospital and medical. May also include: prescription drugs, dental, vision and hearing
- Can you add Medigap insurance? No
- Are prescription drugs covered? They're included in most plans
- Can you choose your doctor and hospitals? Yes, if they’re in the plan’s network. Some plans offer out-of-network coverage.
- Are there quality of care ratings? Yes, plans are rated at medicare.gov/find-a-plan
Thinking about Medicare, and wondering when to sign up? It depends on your situation:
Turning 65? For most people, it’s just a question of when you turn 65. Medicare gives you a “window” of time to sign up. It starts three months before your 65th birthday, and ends three months after you turn 65. It’s called your Medicare Initial Enrollment Period.
Working past 65? If you’re covered by your employer (or your spouse’s employer), talk to the plan. Find out if it works with Medicare. Some plans do, and you may be able to save on health care costs.
Have more questions? We’re ready to help. We can put you in touch with a several Medicare-approved resources. We believe that choosing the right Medicare plan puts you on the right path to better health.
Call 1-866-415-7402 (TTY 711).OR
Moving can affect your Medicare plan. In some cases, you may be able to choose a new plan because you qualify for a Medicare Special Enrollment Period. These include:
- A move to an area that isn’t in your current plan’s service area
- A move within your current plan’s service area that opens up new plan choices
- A move back to the United States after living abroad
- A move into or out of a nursing home or similar facility
If you’ve moved or are thinking of moving, call your plan. If it doesn’t cover care in the new area, it can help you find a new plan.
Or give us a call. We can put you in touch with a licensed insurance agent who can answer your questions.
Call 1-866-415-7402 (TTY 711).OR
Medicare frequently asked questions
Every year, the Medicare Annual Enrollment Period, or AEP, is October 15 through December 7. This is the time you may change, drop or add to your Medicare plan. To make changes, talk to a licensed agent, SHIBA or visit medicare.gov.OR
The Everett Clinic recommends the four independent insurance agencies below. They can help you compare plans and answer your questions. You don’t pay a fee to talk with these agents:
- American Senior Resources | 1-800-386-6160 | visitASR.com
- VibrantUSA | 1-888-685-5111 | vibrantusa.com/tec
- Optimal Insurance Choice | 1-866-725-7104| optimalinsurancechoice.com
- Seattle Insurance Group | 1-206-687-0429 | seattleinsgroup.com
Calling these numbers or visiting these web pages will direct you to a licensed insurance agent. These agencies are licensed to work with Medicare enrollees to explain Medicare Advantage and Prescription Drug Plan options.
Other resources include:OR
You may want to start with our My Medicare Choice e-book. It walks you through some of the important details you need to think about. For example, what medicines do you need to take? What doctors do you see? Which plans cover them?
When you’ve answered those questions, you may want to talk to a licensed insurance agent. The agent can look up your medicines and your doctors to find what plans cover them.OR
You can make changes at other times of the year if:
- You move out of your plan’s service area.
- You lose your current plan.
- You become qualified for both Medicare and Medicaid.
This is called a Special Enrollment Period (SEP).OR