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Medicare coverage and enrollment

Turning 65?

If you’re turning 65 or are over 65 and new to Medicare, it’s time to start exploring your Medicare options.

Medicare has guidelines and time frames for enrollment. If you don’t enroll when you are first eligible, there could be late enrollment penalties. To avoid these penalties, it’s wise to contact us or Medicare 4 to 6 months before turning 65, even if you or your spouse is still working.

You may also be new to Medicare due to disability. Typically, there is a 24-month waiting period before you qualify for Medicare Part B.

What is Medicare?

Medicare is a federal health insurance program that provides health coverage for individuals age 65 and older. It also covers certain people under age 65 with disabilities and those with End-Stage Renal Disease (ESRD) and Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig's disease).

Click the options below to understand what your Medicare coverage choices may include:

Medicare Part A is hospital insurance. It covers you for care in a hospital, hospice and some home health care services.

Part A is premium-free if you or your spouse have worked and paid Social Security taxes for at least 10 years. If you have worked less than 10 years, you can still get Part A. However, you will be responsible for paying a premium.   

Medicare Part B is medical insurance. It covers doctor visits, outpatient surgery, physical, speech and occupational therapy, immunizations, chiropractic services, lab services and medical equipment and supplies.

You pay a monthly premium for Part B and the premium amount depends on your annual income. Learn more about Part B premiums at

Important: Original Medicare Parts A and B do not cover everything. There are deductibles for Part A and Part B. And, after you pay those deductibles, generally Medicare pays 80% of covered costs and you pay 20%.

Medicare Part C is Medicare Advantage.  Medicare Advantage plans are run by private insurance companies, like ConnectiCare, who are approved by Medicare. They include all of your Part A and Part B coverage plus extra benefits and services like routine care, dental services and wellness programs. 

Medicare Part D is prescription drug coverage and it is not offered by Medicare itself. You can get Medicare Part D from a Medicare Advantage plan. This is called a Medicare Advantage Prescription Drug plan (MAPD).  

Why Medicare Advantage?

Compared to Original Medicare alone or with a Medicare Supplement plan, Medicare Advantage plans can be a simpler option:

  • Convenience: All of your coverage from a single health plan.

  • Benefits: Access to additional benefits, such as routine care and wellness programs. Some plans even include dental.

  • Financial protection: All plans have an annual maximum out-of-pocket limit for covered medical expenses. Amounts vary by plan.

It’s easy to see why more than 22 million people nationwide are enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan!1

Medicare Advantage - a simpler option

Column I explains how you can add to your Original Medicare coverage with a Medicare Supplement plan and/or a Part D prescription drug plan.

Column II explains how you can simplify your coverage with a Medicare Advantage plan.

Column I

Original Medicare Plan Part A & Part B
  • Medicare provides this coverage

  • After you meet your Part A deductible and your Part B deductible, generally Medicare pays 80% of covered costs and you pay 20%

  • You must continue to pay your Part B monthly premium

You can add:

Medicare Supplement Plan (Optional)
  • Offered by private companies

  • Fills the gaps of cost sharing for Medicare Parts A and B

  • Generally, does not provide more benefits than Original Medicare

  • You pay an additional monthly premium

You can also add:

Part D Prescription Drug Coverage (Optional)
  • If you want this coverage, you must join a Medicare Part D prescription drug plan offered by a private company approved by Medicare

  • You may need to pay an additional monthly premium

Column II

Medicare Advantage Plans (Part C)
  • Offered by private companies, like ConnectiCare

  • Include both Medicare Part A and Part B coverage

  • Many plans include Part D prescription drug coverage. (These are called Medicare Advantage Prescription Drug plans)

  • May offer additional benefits beyond Original Medicare, like routine care, fitness and dental

  • Have one monthly plan premium or, in some cases, no monthly plan premium (in addition to your Part B premium)

  • Convenience – all your medical and prescription drug benefits offered through a single health plan

1 Source: Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Monthly Summary Report (Data as of July 2019)

Last update 10/1/2019