What You Should Know About Medicare and the Open Enrollment Period (OEP)
October 15 – December 7
Tip #1: Medicare is a health insurance program
It’s a program set up for people age 65 or older, people under age 65 with certain disabilities, and people of all ages with End-Stage Renal Disease (permanent kidney failure requiring dialysis or a kidney transplant). 
Tip # 2:  Did you know the open enrollment period for Medicare https://www.facebook.com/hashtag/medicare  starts October 15?
The open enrollment period (OEP) is a time when Medicare eligible individuals can enroll in a new Medicare Advantage plan or switch from Original Medicare to a Medicare Advantage Plan. During this time you can also add prescription drug coverage or switch from one Medicare drug plan to another Medicare drug plan. If a person is satisfied with their plan, they don’t need to do anything. Keep in mind that OEP ends December 7th. You have a window of opportunity to change your health coverage and your health coverage provider without penalty.  The Late Enrollment Penalty (LEP) happens once you’re eligible for Medicare, if you delay enrolling in Part B or Part D, you may be subjected to penalties once you add

Tip #3:  The Social Security Administration advises people to file for Medicare benefits 3 months before age 65
The Initial Enrollment Period (IEP) happens once – usually once you become Medicare eligible at age 64 and 9 months. Failure to apply on time could result in financial penalties.
Tip #4:  Original Medicare does not cover prescription drugs
Prescriptions aren’t covered but the government has contracted with private insurance companies that can offer you coverage at an additional cost. If you are entitled to Medicare Part A and/or enrolled in Part B, you can purchase Part D as a stand-alone program to cover prescription drugs.
Tip #5: Medicare Advantage is commonly known as Part C.
Part C is a type of Medicare insurance that combines Part A and Part B into a plan that not only covers the out-of-pocket expenses, but may provide additional coverage such as vision, dental, wellness programs, chiropractors and many more.  Once you complete your enrollment paperwork, generally your proposed effective date will be on the first of the following month. If you enroll during the open enrollment election period, you will be effective on January 1 of the next year.
Tip #6: Medicare is not free.
You will pay a premium, which is deducted from your Social Security check, for Part B along with an annual deductible and a percentage, usually 20%, of the total bill. Purchasing supplemental insurance can help contain costs associated with deductibles, co-payments and prescription drugs.

Tip #7:  There’s many reliable resources to help you learn about Medicare.
The CMS website, www.medicare.gov http://www.medicare.gov , Medicare Advantage health plans and licensed insurance agents in your area can explain the parts of Medicare and show all of the Medicare and prescription drug plans in your area.  Examples of licensed insurance agents are a health plan representatives or a broker representing one or several health plans. If you need phone numbers for these resources, call us at 877-976-4321 and a Monarch HealthCare customer service representative will assist you.