New to Medicare?

New to Medicare?

Follow this SMG Health Blueprint to Medicare.


Begin gathering information from your employer by asking your Human Resource department if your health coverage is going to continue when you retire. If your employer will provide coverage after you retire, it will be important for you to send your Medicare card back. Your Medicare card is the red, white and blue card and for most people they automatically receive this card 3 months before their 65th birthday. Your Medicare card will show the date you were enrolled in Part A and Part B. If you have coverage provided by your employer you will not need Medicare Part B and can save yourself the monthly premium of $134 dollars. You will also preserve your open enrollment for a later date.



At 64 ½ many insurance companies will allow you to begin applying for a Medicare supplement plan, also referred to as a Medigap plan. Don’t be confused; the word Medicare supplement and Medigap are interchangeable words. The most important thing you need to remember is that even though many insurance companies allow you to sign up 6 months prior to your 65th birthday, your initial enrollment period (IEP) begins 3 months before your 65th birthday and 3 months after your 65th birthday.

You should also know that different insurance companies may charge different premiums for the same exact policy. If you and your spouse both want coverage, you will each have to buy a separate Medicare supplement or Medigap policy.



If you purchase a Medicare supplement or Medigap plan remember that you will also have to purchase a prescription drug plan. You are eligible to purchase a prescription drug plan (PDP) 3 months before your 65th birthday. If you purchase a Medicare Advantage plan it may already include a prescription drug plan and you will not need to purchase a separate prescription plan. Be extremely careful when selecting a prescription drug plan – the prescription drug plan you select should be based on the drugs that you are currently taking and the drugs should be on the list of covered drugs before you join.

You should also keep in mind that after your initial enrollment period, you will only be allowed to switch prescription drug plans between October 15th – December 7th, unless you lose your coverage.


On the first day of the month that you turn 65, your Medicare supplement or medigap open enrollment period begins. The only exception to this rule is if your birthday falls on the first day of the month that you turn 65, then your open enrollment will start the month prior.

Example: John Doe birth date is June 1st 1952… John’s open enrollment will begin May 1st of 2017.

You will have six months from your open enrollment date to select a Medicare supplement plan and/or a prescription drug (Part D) plan. This is the best time to apply because it’s your guaranteed issue period and you will be accepted into a Medicare supplement plan even if you have health problems.

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SMG Health Team