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It’s easier than you think.

By Beth Kaszuba

Reading about Medicare can be like staring into a bowl of alphabet soup. You might feel like a lot of letters are swirling around, without making much sense.

But the basic facts about Medicare really aren’t too complicated. And once you know the basics, it’s easier to figure out what coverage is right for you.
A good place to start? By familiarizing yourself with the four parts of Medicare.

  • Part A helps cover the big things, like hospitalizations and skilled nursing care.
  • Part B helps cover routine care, like doctor visits and preventive care.
  • Part C (also called Medicare Advantage) includes Part A and Part B benefits and:
  • Often has no or low monthly premiums
  • Often includes prescription drug benefits
  • Limits your out-of-pocket expenses
  • Can include extra benefits like dental, vision, hearing and wellness
  • Part D is separate prescription drug coverage.

Armed with these facts, you’re ready to learn more about premiums and coverage options. A good place to start is medicare.gov.

Also, keep in mind that you don’t have to wait until you’re 65 to start planning for Medicare coverage — or to sign up. While you don’t qualify for full Medicare benefits until you’re 65, you can actually sign up 3 months before your birthday. And if you forget, you have 3 months after your birthday, too, to enroll in Part A, Part B and Medicare Advantage plans like Geisinger Gold, offered through Geisinger Health Plan.

If you miss that window, you can still sign up during the General Enrollment Period, held every year from Jan. 1 to March 31. You can also make changes to your Medicare Advantage plan during the Annual Enrollment Period, held each year from Oct. 15 to Dec. 7.*

Taking charge of your health insurance is part of living a healthy lifestyle. Best of all, by learning the facts and getting the coverage you need, you’re safeguarding your finances, too. And it’s never too early to start exploring your options. Visit GeisingerGold.com to learn more.

Geisinger Gold Medicare Advantage HMO, PPO and HMO D-SNP plans are offered by Geisinger Health Plan/Geisinger Indemnity Insurance Company, health plans with a Medicare contract. Continued enrollment in Geisinger Gold depends on annual contract renewal. 

*If you’re still working and covered under an Employer Group Health Plan (EGHP) at the time you’re first eligible for Medicare, you’ll have an 8-month Special Enrollment Period that starts either the month after employment ends or the month after your EGHP ends — whichever comes first. 

Next steps: 

Learn more about Geisinger Gold

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Older couple reviewing their Medicare plan options online.