Medicare Made Simple

Has Medicare coverage started to cross your mind?

If so, you probably have real questions that need real answers by real people. We've created this guide to help explain Medicare, when you need to enroll, and what Medicare Supplement insurance is and how it can help pay for expenses not covered by Medicare.

If you don't see the answer to your questions here, please call Customer Service to speak to a real representative.

We also offer seminars where you can learn about plan options, coverage, premiums and provider networks available in your area.

What is Medicare?

What Is Medicare?

Medicare is health insurance for people who are:

  • Age 65 or older
  • Under age 65 with certain disabilities
  • Of any age with End-Stage Renal Disease (ESRD) (permanent kidney failure requiring dialysis or a kidney transplant)

How do I enroll in Medicare?

If you are drawing Social Security,

  • you will automatically get your Medicare card in the mail approximately three months before your 65th birthday.

If you are not drawing Social Security,

  • you will need to contact Medicare at 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227) (TTY 1-877-486-2048) no earlier than three months prior to your 65th birthday to get enrolled.
What do all the different parts mean?

Medicare has four parts – A, B, C and D.

Some are mandatory for all enrollees; others are optional.

Medicare Part A: Hospitalization and inpatient care

Part A is hospital insurance. It covers the costs of inpatient care in a medical facility including critical access hospitals and skilled nursing facilities (not custodial or long-term care). When you enroll in Medicare, you receive Part A automatically. For most people, there is no cost to receive Part A.

Medicare Part B: Doctors' services and outpatient care

Part B helps cover doctors, outpatient and home health care services, as well as medical equipment. This pays for your doctor visits. To receive coverage through Medicare Part B, you need to enroll. Your initial enrollment starts three months before your 65th birthday, includes the month of your 65th birthday and ends three months after your 65th birthday. If you don’t enroll during this initial enrollment period, there is a general enrollment period each year from January 1 through March 31. Generally, a monthly premium will be deducted from your Social Security check for Part B.

Medicare Part C: Medicare Advantage

Part C is a Medicare Advantage plan. It typically covers all of Parts A and B, a prescription drug plan (Part D) and additional benefits not found in original Medicare. Part C is administered by private insurance companies and the federal government pays your Medicare payment directly to them. If you're enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan, Medicare services are covered through the plan and aren't paid for under original Medicare. Most Medicare Advantage plans also offer prescription drug coverage.

Medicare Part D: Prescription Drug Coverage

Part D covers prescription drugs. Medicare offers prescription drug coverage to everyone with Medicare. If you decide not to join a Medicare prescription drug plan when you're first eligible, and you don't have other creditable prescription drug coverage or you don't get Extra Help, you'll likely pay a late enrollment penalty. To get Medicare drug coverage, you must join a plan run by an insurance company or other private company approved by Medicare. Each plan varies in cost and drugs covered.


You can also learn more at medicare.gov (by selecting the link you will leave the Quartz website).
Do I need parts A, B and D?

If you (or your spouse, whichever one is carrying health insurance) are still actively employed and you are covered by an Employer Group Plan through that employment, you can defer Part B without being penalized.

Once you (or your spouse, whichever one is carrying the insurance) stops actively working, you will need to be enrolled in Part B to avoid being penalized. If you continue group health insurance coverage and defer Part B, you will need to confirm that the prescription drug coverage through the group health insurance is “Creditable Coverage”. You can get this information from your employer. If you prescription coverage is not Creditable Coverage, you will need to enroll in a Medicare Part D plan. Otherwise you may pay a penalty for not having creditable prescription drug coverage.