How Medicare

Medicare operates through several plans, including Part A, Part B, Part C, and Part D. However, it essentially boils down to two main options: Medicare Advantage and Medicare Supplement. Part D is exclusively available within Medicare Advantage, not in Supplement plans

Enrollment Period


Initial Enrollment Period (IEP)

This is the most common enrollment period and applies to people who are first eligible for Medicare at age 65. The IEP lasts for 7 months, starting 3 months before you turn 65, your birth month, and ending 3 months after the month you turn 65


Special Enrollment Period (SEP)

There are a few situations that qualify you for a SEP, which allows you to enroll in Medicare outside of the normal enrollment periods. For example, if you lose your employer-sponsored health insurance, you have an 8-month SEP to enroll in Medicare without a penalty


Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period(only if you’re already in a Medicare Advantage Plan)

The first three months of having Medicare (January 1 - March 31) offer a special enrollment period. This lets you adjust your Medicare coverage without waiting for the standard enrollment window. You can switch to a different Medicare Advantage Plan, with or without drug coverage, or even drop your current Medicare Advantage Plan altogether and return to Original Medicare. If you choose the latter option, you can also enroll in a separate Medicare drug plan at the same time. Just keep in mind that any coverage changes you make will begin on the first day of the month following the plan's receipt of your request.


Medicare Annual Enrollment Period (AEP)

The Medicare Annual Enrollment Period – AEP for short – is a set time each year for changing your Medicare coverage choices if you choose to. AEP runs from October 15 to December 7. New coverage choices go into effect on January 1.

Plans You Can Choose From

Medicare Supplement plan (Medigap)

Designed for flexibility and choice, a Medicare Supplement plan (Medigap) works alongside Original Medicare (Parts A & B) to help manage out-of-pocket costs like deductibles and coinsurance. With a Medigap plan, you have the freedom to visit any doctor or hospital accepting Medicare nationwide. However, it's important to note that prescription drug coverage (Part D) is typically not included with a Medigap plan, so you may need to enroll in a separate Part D plan for comprehensive coverage.

Medicare Advantage plan

Offering an all-in-one approach, a Medicare Advantage (MA) plan acts as an alternative to Original Medicare.  These plans typically bundle coverage for Parts A, B, and D (hospital insurance, medical insurance, and prescription drug coverage) into a single plan. This simplifies your coverage and often includes additional benefits like vision, dental, or hearing services.  However, MA plans typically have a network of providers you'll need to use and may have copays and deductibles depending on the specific plan you choose.