Medicare: Almost ready to enroll? Here's your complete checklist

Here are some questions to ask about process

By Dawn Jorgenson - Graham Media Group
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(Photo by Michael Dodge/Getty Images)

Figuring out the first steps to take in preparing yourself to enroll in Medicare can be overwhelming. Let us help alleviate some of the stress by providing you with a simple checklist.

Six months before turning 65

1. Begin educating yourself by exploring the ABCDs of Medicare:

2. Find out if your work history qualifies you for coverage. Check by clicking here.

3. Learn how Medicare works with other coverage. Check your eligibility by clicking here.

4. Understand the costs associated with Medicare:

5. Learn about your enrollment options:

  • Enroll on time to avoid delays and penalties in coverage.
  • If your plan is to enroll during your *Initial Enrollment Period, set reminders for yourself for three months prior to your 65th birthday.

*Initial Enrollment Period is the seven-month period that begins three months prior to the month you first become eligible for Medicare. It ends three months later.


Four months before turning 65

1. Compare plans by calculating costs per month/year for:

  • Premiums.
  • Deductibles.
  • Copays and coinsurance.

Click here to compare plans.


Three months before turning 65

1. Enroll in Part A during the Initial Enrollment Period. And unless you are eligible for a Special Enrollment Period, you should also enroll in Part B.

2. Confirm receipt of Medicare cards.

3. Talk to a benefits advisor to get detailed information about plans. Click here to see if you qualify.

4. Ask the following questions:

  • Will I have to choose hospital and health care providers from a network?
  • Will my doctors accept the coverage? If not, are there doctors near me who will?
  • Will I need referrals to visit specialists?
  • Will the plan cover me if I get sick while traveling in another state?
  • What will my prescription drugs cost?
  • Are my drugs on the plan's drug list (or *formulary)?
  • Does the plan include the pharmacies I currently use?
  • Can I get my prescriptions through the mail?
  • Does the plan have a good quality rating?

*Formulary: A list of drugs covered by your Part D plan or by another plan that includes prescription drug benefits.

5. Make your decision and learn how to use your Medicare by clicking here.

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