The Basics of Medicare
Your guide to understanding coverage and costs and
how you can combine the different parts of Medicare together for a more complete, comprehensive health plan
What is Medicare?
It’s a government health insurance program designed to assist Americans aged 65 or older with their health care needs. Medicare has four different coverage parts. The first two, Part A and Part B, are often referred to as Original Medicare.
Fact: Original Medicare doesn't cover everything.
Often, people will have additional health expenses, like prescription drug costs, dental, wellness, hearing or vision care that isn’t covered by Original Medicare.
Depending on your expected health needs, finances and lifestyle, you may decide you need additional coverage.
That’s where BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina can help bridge the gaps in what Original Medicare doesn’t cover.
Medicare Advantage Plans
Prescription Drug Plans
Medicare Supplement Plans
Question: When can I enroll in a Medicare plan?
Your Initial Enrollment Period (IEP) begins three months prior to your 65th birthday and ends three months after, for a seven-month enrollment window. It’s best to enroll during the first three months to ensure you’re covered when you turn 65.
Good to know: There are also additional enrollment periods throughout the year after you turn 65 if you miss your IEP.
Your Medicare enrollment decision at a glance
You’re turning 65. Now what? It all depends on your situtation.
If you plan to retire at age 65 or you are not working and don’t already receive Social Security benefits:
You need to sign up for Medicare Part A and/or Part B.
Contact Social Security three months before your 65th birthday.
If you already receive Social Security retirement, disability or Railroad Retirement Board benefits:
You automatically get Medicare Part A and Part B, and you should receive your Medicare card in the mail three months before your 65th birthday.
You may still want to think about additional coverage through BlueCross.
If you plan to keep working past age 65 and/or your spouse is currently covered by an employer group health plan:
Contact your employer or union benefits administrator to find out how your coverage works with Medicare. You may want to delay enrolling in Part B.
Life's better when we do Medicare together.
There’s a lot to learn about Medicare before you’re ready to enroll. The good thing is you have people like us on your side to answer your questions and provide valuable information, guidance and support when learning the basics of Medicare.