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The A, B, C, Ds of Medicare Other Important Information
- Payment options for Medicare Part C and Part D
- When to join or switch Medicare Part C and Part D plans
- Help in paying for Medicare
Payment options for Medicare Part C and Part D
If the plan you select charges a premium, there are four ways to pay your Medicare Advantage plan and/or Medicare prescription drug plan premiums:
- You can have your premium automatically deducted from a savings or checking account, or charged to a credit or debit card.
- You can have the premium deducted from your Social Security benefit/check (if your monthly payment covers your premium).
- The insurer you choose for your plan(s) can send you a bill each month.
- You may work for, or are a retiree of, an employer that pays for Medicare benefits – in this instance you pay little or no premium.
When to enroll or switch Medicare Part C and Part D plans
There are strict rules that govern when you can join a Medicare Advantage (Part C) or Medicare prescription drug plan (Part D). Note: These rules may not apply if you are in a Medicare Plan sponsored by your employer.
- When you first become eligible for Medicare (three months before the month you turn age 65 until three months after). There may be a financial penalty if you want to enroll later than when you were first eligible for Part B and Part D.
- If you get Medicare due to a disability, you can join from three months before to three months after your 25th month of cash disability payments.
- To switch plans, or if you didn't enroll when you were first eligible, you can join during the dates below and your coverage will begin on January 1 of the following year.
- For the 2012 plan year, between October 15 and December 7 of 2011.
- Please see below for extended enrollment/switch dates for Medicare Advantage plans.
- In certain situations, you may be able to join a Medicare Advantage plan or Medicare prescription drug plan at other times. For example:
- if you move out of the service area of the plan you are in;
- if you have both Medicare and Medicaid;
- if you live in, or move into or out of an institution (like a nursing home); or
- if you have creditable prescription drug coverage and that coverage ends (you must enroll within 63 days of losing that coverage).
Special Exception for Medicare Advantage plans ONLY:
If eligible, you can join or switch Medicare Advantage plans from January 1 to February 14th of any year.
If you are in a Medicare Advantage plan with prescription drug coverage, you could return to the Original Medicare plan, but you'd have to also join a Medicare prescription drug plan at the same time.
If you have questions about whether or not you can join or switch Medicare plans, call 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227), (TTY/TDD users should call 1-800-325-0778)
Help paying for Medicare
Medicare provides Extra Help for people who have limited income and resources. If you feel you may qualify, we encourage you to learn about the program and its eligibility requirements by visiting www.socialsecurity.gov on the web, or by calling the Social Security Administration at 1-800-772-1213. (TTY/TDD users should call 1-800-325-0778)