Insurance and Finance

Your Last-Minute Quick Guide to Medicare Insurance

By Haley Shapley 12.2.15

The open enrollment period for Medicare ends on Dec. 7, so make sure you’ve made any needed changes to your plan for the 2016 year. Not sure where to start? Here are some frequently asked questions and answers:

Q: Do I need to enroll in Medicare?

A: Everyone 65 and older who is enrolled in Social Security is automatically signed up for Medicare, but there are some special conditions in which you might have to manually apply. These have different enrollment periods. Check with for more information.

Q: What’s the difference between Medicare Part A and Part B?

A: Part A is insurance coverage for care at hospitals and select medical facilities and Part B is insurance coverage for doctors visits, preventative medicine, and supplies. Most people don’t pay a premium for Part A. If you sign up for Part B when you’re first eligible, the premium can be as low as $100 a month, depending on your income.

Q: Should I get Part B?

A: It depends on your employment situation. In general, individuals who are still working and covered by an employer-provided group health plan don’t need Medicare, says the Insurance Information Institute. It’s usually best to keep group coverage for as long as possible.

Q: What are Parts C and D?

A: Part D pertains to prescription drug coverage. Part C is known as Medicare Advantage and includes Parts A and B but is provided by private insurance companies approved by Medicare instead of directly through Medicare. It usually covers prescription drugs.

Q: I like the plan I’m on. Do I need to re-enroll in it?

A: No, if you’re happy with your current plan and it’s still being offered next year, you don’t need to do anything.

Q: What can I change during this enrollment period?

A: Use this time to compare health and drug plans to see if a different plan works better for your current situation. You can get more information on plan specifics by visiting or calling 1.800.MEDICARE.

To learn more about other health care offerings, such as HSAs, visit

Coverage and discounts are subject to qualifications and policy terms and may vary by situation.

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