Original Medicare is sometimes referred to as traditional Medicare. It consists of Medicare Part A (Hospital Benefits) and Medicare Part B (Outpatient Benefits).

Medicare Part A has no premium as long as you or a spouse have worked 40 quarters (10 years) over your lifetime in the U.S. If you have done so, you will automatically receive your Medicare Part A card a few months before you turn 65.

Medicare Part B has a monthly premium that is based on your income level over the last 2 years. For most people, the Medicare Part B premium is $134 in 2017.  This premium can go up a bit each year due to ordinary inflation. People with higher incomes may pay more for Part B based on their modified adjusted gross income for their household.

Enrollment into Part B is NOT automatic unless you are already receiving Social Security or Railroad Retirement benefits.

If you are turning 65 soon and not yet receiving Social Security or Railroad Retirement benefits, but you wish to enroll to in Medicare Part B, you should contact Social Security to apply for Medicare.

Medicare Part B has an Initial Enrollment period of 7 months – beginning 3 months before you turn 65 and ending 3 months after the month in which you turn 65. If you do not enroll in Part B during this period, you may have to wait to apply during the next General Enrollment period, which runs annually from January 1st – March 31st. You may then be subject to a penalty for waiting to enroll, and your benefits will not begin until the following July.

Medicare Part D is optional prescription drug coverage. To enroll in a Texas Medicare Part D plan, you will simply choose a Part D carrier that has the right formulary and benefits for your individual needs. A Texas insurance agent who specializes in Medicare-related products can be very helpful in ensuring that you get the most mileage out of your Medicare dollar.

 

After You Enroll in Medicare: Using Your Open Enrollment Window

Once you apply for Medicare Part B, you automatically initiate your open enrollment window to elect a Texas Medicare supplement without having to answer health questions. Once this window begins, you will have 6 months to enroll in a medicare supplement without health questions.

Failure to enroll in a Medicare supplement during this time means that if you wish to apply for a supplement later, you must undergo medical underwriting, and there is no guarantee that you will be accepted.

Medicare Part B enrollment applications can be made online, in person at your local Social Security office, or by calling Social Security at 1-800-772-1213.

Have more questions about Medicare Part B enrollment? Call one of friendly Texas insurance agent advisors at our number listed at the top of this page. Or, to proceed with choosing your supplement, complete our Medicare Supplement Quote Form.