Each year, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) releases a handbook titled Medicare & You. The handbook, which is made available to all current and future Medicare beneficiaries, is published in the fall for the upcoming year.
The Medicare & You 2021 guide is now available.
Click on the image below to access and download your copy from Medicare.gov, the official website of Medicare.
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Speak with a licensed insurance agent
If you are currently enrolled in Medicare, you should have received a printed copy of Medicare & You 2021 by the end of October, 2020. If you have not received your copy, please call 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227) to request one.
Whether or not you are enrolled in Medicare, you may view an electronic version of Medicare & You 2021 and you can download it if you wish.
Medicare & You 2021 is over 120 pages long, but here is a brief summary of what you can expect to find in the guide.
The better you understand Medicare, the more effectively you may be able to use your benefits. Use Medicare & You 2021 to learn the ins and outs of the Medicare program or call 1-800-MEDICARE with any questions.
There are four basic parts of Medicare, as well as Medicare Supplement Insurance:
Medigap and Medicare Advantage plans are not the same thing. You cannot be enrolled in a Medigap plan and a Medicare Advantage plan at the same time.
Part A and B of Medicare are provided by the federal government. Medicare Advantage, Medicare Part D and Medicare Supplement Insurance are sold by private insurance companies.
Each type of Medicare coverage can come with its own costs.
Medicare Advantage, Medicare Part D and Medicare Supplement Insurance do not have standardized costs because they are sold by private insurance companies. The premiums for these plans will typically vary according to location, carrier and plan selection.
In addition to monthly premiums, Medicare Advantage plans and Part D plans may feature deductibles and cost-sharing requirements like copayments or coinsurance.
Some Medicare Advantage plans feature $0 premiums, and some Part D plans may offer $0 deductibles. Plan costs and availability may vary by location.
There are a few different times of the year (Medicare enrollment periods) during which you may be able to enroll in different types of Medicare plans, which include your Medicare Initial Enrollment Period and the Medicare Annual Enrollment Period.
Initial Enrollment Period (IEP)
Medicare beneficiaries are given an Initial Enrollment Period when they first become eligible for Medicare.
This period begins three months before you turn 65 years old, includes the month of your birthday and continues for another three months.
During this time, you may be able to enroll in different types of Medicare coverage, depending on your eligibility.
Annual Enrollment Period (AEP)
The Annual Enrollment Period (also known as the Medicare Open Enrollment Period for Medicare Advantage and prescription drug plans) lasts from October 15 to December 7 each year.
Depending on your situation, you may be able to make a number of changes to your Medicare coverage during this fall open enrollment period, such as adding, switching or dropping a Medicare Advantage plan or a Medicare Part D plan.
If you have questions about the Medicare coverage options available where you live, such as Medicare Advantage plans that may offer prescription drug coverage, you can get the answers you need by calling to speak with a licensed insurance agent.
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Christian Worstell is a senior Medicare and health insurance writer with MedicareAdvantage.com. He is also a licensed health insurance agent. Christian is well-known in the insurance industry for the thousands of educational articles he’s written, helping Americans better understand their health insurance and Medicare coverage.
Christian’s work as a Medicare expert has appeared in several top-tier and trade news outlets including Forbes, MarketWatch, WebMD and Yahoo! Finance.
Christian has written hundreds of articles for MedicareAvantage.com that teach Medicare beneficiaries the best practices for navigating Medicare. His articles are read by thousands of older Americans each month. By better understanding their health care coverage, readers may hopefully learn how to limit their out-of-pocket Medicare spending and access quality medical care.
Christian’s passion for his role stems from his desire to make a difference in the senior community. He strongly believes that the more beneficiaries know about their Medicare coverage, the better their overall health and wellness is as a result.
A current resident of Raleigh, Christian is a graduate of Shippensburg University with a bachelor’s degree in journalism.
If you’re a member of the media looking to connect with Christian, please don’t hesitate to email our public relations team at Mike@tzhealthmedia.com.