How to Choose a Medicare Plan: 4 Tips

These simple tricks will help you cut through all the confusion and enroll in the right plan

by Senior 65+ on Sep 30, 2017 | 5 Comments

There’s more to planning your 65th birthday than cake and candles, there’s Medicare enrollment too. With all the confusing information about Medicare parts, supplemental plans, deadlines and costs, it can be a headache. Here are some quick tips to make the decision-making process smarter and easier.

1) Don’t be Freaked Out by Jargon

You will inevitably come across Medicare words that will turn your mind numb.  We will help explain Medicare jargon in plain English below.

2) Sign Up for Original Medicare First

Whether interested in a Medigap plan, a Medicare Advantage plan, or just a drug plan, most Americans will want to start with Original Medicare.

Original Medicare coverage is broken into two main parts:

  • Medicare Part A: covers inpatient hospital stays, care in nursing facilities, hospice care, and some home health care.

  • Medicare Part B: covers certain doctors’ services, outpatient care, medical supplies, and preventive services.

Part A usually has no monthly fee whereas part B is based on your income. Those currently receiving Social Security or disability benefits are automatically enrolled in Medicare but the rest of us will have to select it.  Please Note: If you have employer-based health insurance, you may be able to delay your Medicare enrollment.

3) Decide Between Medigap and Medicare Advantage

Once enrolled in Original Medicare, most people select one of the following:

  • Medicare Advantage Plan (Occasionally referred to as Medicare Part C): These plans cover Medicare Part A and Part B benefits but are managed through a private insurance company. These plans often include drug coverage,

  • Medicare Supplement Plan (Almost always called Medigap): Medigap plans are private plans that supplement Medicare.  Medigap plans cover out-of-pocket costs (copayments, deductibles, etc.) not covered by Medicare.  Most people who go this path also select a separate Medicare Part D drug plan.

You cannot have both so try our Medicare Insurance Recommendation Guide which will help you choose which plan is right for you.

4) Don’t Miss Your Deadlines

Know your deadlines or you may be penalized for missing your enrollment period! Check out Senior65’s Deadline Calculator. It keeps track of important deadlines so you can avoid late fees or waiting periods.

It’s best to shop for Medigap plans when first enrolling in Medicare, as you are guaranteed coverage regardless of preexisting conditions.

Next Steps

Click here to get a quote for Medigap
Click here to get a quote for Medicare Advantage
Click here to get a quote for Part D drugs

If you have any questions, please leave a comment below or call us at the number above.

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Reader Comments and Questions

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By Derek Dewitt on January 11, 2019

My grandpa is getting ready to retire soon so thanks for sharing this. I like your point about keeping track of deadlines so you don't miss the enrollment period. I'll be sure to help him with this since he can be forgetful at times.

By Rhianna Hawk on January 02, 2019

Thank you for breaking down choosing medicare insurance for me; I've been trying to figure out how to get started choosing a plan and you've really helped me understand the different plans. I especially appreciate where you break down what Medigap is and how it works as a supplemental plan, and it definitely seems worth looking into. I'll probably do as you said and look into a separate Medicare Part D drug plan along with it if I end up going the route of Medigap, as well, as I need to cover some anxiety medication among others and I'd definitely like to have my out of pocket covered.

You are welcome! We love Senior65 too ;) You can apply online for Medigap here. Give us a call if you would like help enrolling in a plan.
Amy from

By Duncan on September 05, 2018

There are a lot of factors that you must look into when choosing a medicare plan. The article makes a particularly good point about making sure you don't miss your deadline.

By Ellen Hughese on August 15, 2018

You got my attention when you said that Medicare Advantage Plan offers drug coverage and is often managed by a private insurance company. My husband is interested in Medicare plans for his mother. He said that he didn't want his mom to worry about spending money on buying medicines that she will need to take for her medical condition, so I'll share your blog with her.

By Mark on October 28, 2017

As a New York resident, am I eligible for guarantee issue of a Medigap plan through any insurance company that offers this and may I enroll at anytime throughout the year?

New york has unique rule outlined in this Article
After checking it out, please let us know if you have any additional questions.
-Eric from

P.S. Most of our New York clients enroll in High deductible F plans as they typically have the best prices. Give us a call if you would like a quote.

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