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Common Medicare Questions Answered

As Medicare agents, we get all sorts of questions about Medicare. We are dedicated to helping kupuna understand and benefit from their Medicare plans in every way possible. Today we are going to answer some of the most common Medicare questions that we are asked. We hope you will find the information helpful and if you have any further questions, we encourage you to reach out to our agency to schedule a free appointment with one of our caring agents. This is an especially great time to schedule an appointment because we are in the middle of the Annual Enrollment Period (Oct. 15-Dec. 7).

Common Medicare Questions Answered

Will I automatically be enrolled in Medicare when I turn 65?

If you are already receiving Social Security, Railroad Retirement, or disability benefits, you will be automatically enrolled in both Medicare Part A and Part B. All you need to do is sign your Medicare card. If you are not receiving any of these benefits but wish to enroll in Medicare, contact a local Medicare agent or the Social Security Administration at 1-800-772-1213 for help.

How do I know if I have Medicare coverage?

The Social Security Administration has your Medicare status. Call them or contact your local Social Security office to verify your Medicare Part A and Part B coverage. Click here for Hawaii offices.

How can I get a replacement Medicare card?

If you lose your card, you can order a replacement card by calling the Social Security Administration or by visiting their web site. You will need your Medicare number when you call.

I can't afford my Medicare premiums, can anyone help?

Low-income and low-resource seniors may qualify for help paying for their Medicare costs through the Medicare Beneficiary Program (QMB) or the Specified Low Income Medicare Beneficiary Program (SLMB). Your local Medicare agent would be happy to help you apply for any programs that could help you afford your Medicare premiums and deductibles.

Does Medicare pay for dental services?

Unfortunately, Original Medicare does not cover most dental care. There are rare cases that Medicare Part B will pay for certain out-patient dental services and that Medicare part A will cover certain dental services delivered on an inpatient basis. Contact your local carrier or your Medicare agent for dental coverage questions.

How do I change my name and address for Medicare?

If you have a name or address change after you are already registered for Medicare you will need to report it to the Social Security Administration. Social Security will then report your change to Medicare when they change their records. In addition, if you are enrolled in Original Medicare, you should notify the Part B carrier of your name or address change. If you are a member of a Medicare Part C (Medicare Advantage) Plan or a standalone Medicare Part D (prescription drug) plan, then you should also notify your plan carrier of any changes to your contact information.

When can I switch my Medicare plan?

Medicare beneficiaries may switch to a different Medicare Advantage Plan or back to Original Medicare with a supplement plan during Annual Open Enrollment (AEP), which is between October 15 and December 7 each year.

What is Medicare + Choice?

Medicare + Choice is a term used to describe all the health plan options available to Medicare beneficiaries.

What if I don’t want Medicare Part B?

If you do not want Medicare Part B because you have group health insurance or for some other reason, you must put an X in the refusal box on the back of the Medicare card form in the Initial Enrollment Package; then sign and return it with the card to Social Security at the address shown. You will then be sent a new Medicare card showing that you only have Part A.

Does Medicare cover prescription drugs?

In general, Original Medicare does not cover prescription drugs, though seniors who qualify for the Extra Help program due to low income and resources may get help paying for prescription drugs. Most Medicare beneficiaries who are enrolled in Original Medicare pair it with a standalone Part D drug plan to cover their prescription drug costs. Most Medicare Advantage Plans, on the other hand, include prescription drug benefits.

I opted out of Medicare Part B when I turned 65 because I was still working but I am getting ready to retire. Can I enroll now?

Yes, seniors who had group health insurance when they turned 65 and opted out of Part B can sign up for Part B during the Special Enrollment Period (SEP) – contact a local Medicare agent for help or the Social Security Administration for an application. The best part is that you will not have to pay the Part B premium surcharge if you sign up during the SEP. Once you sign up for Medicare Part B, your six-month open enrollment period for buying a Medigap policy begins.

I opted out of Medicare Part B when I turned 65. Can I enroll now?

Even if you decline Medicare Part B when you turn 65, you can enroll between January and March each year during the General Enrollment Period (GEP). Once you have enrolled, your coverage will begin July 1 of that year and you may or may not have to pay a premium surcharge. Call the Social Security Administration for an appointment or you can visit your local Social Security Office to file an application.

What is a Medigap plan?

Medigap plans, also called supplemental insurance policies and Medigap policies are private health insurance policies that cover some of the costs that the Original Medicare Plan does not cover. Your local Medicare agent will have a list of all your Medigap options.

Our independent insurance agents are dedicated to assisting people on Medicare and those who are ready to transition from employer coverage to personal retirement coverage. We help kupuna understand their benefits options and apply for additional coverage, as needed. Because we represent all the major Medicare Advantage and supplement plans in Hawaii, we are able to offer unbiased advice; all at no cost to our clients.

At PBC, our clients are our number one priority and we look forward to getting to know you and your needs. Call us today at (808) 738-4500 to see how we may be of assistance.

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