Tips and Resources for Understanding Medicare

If you, or someone you are caring for, is confused about Medicare, StableView Health (HMO), your local Medicare Advantage plan, is here to answer all of your Medicare questions. We have tools and resources to provide you with all the information you need to make a smart Medicare decision, or to help your loved ones choose the plan that will best fit their needs.

Medicare Tip 1: Know your Medicare Open Enrollment Period.

Be aware: Medicare has specific enrollment periods. In order to avoid any extra costs or fees, make sure you know when you can first enroll in Medicare. You become eligible for Medicare benefits when you turn 65, and you can choose and enroll in your plan during the month of your 65th birthday and the three months before and after. So if you turn 65 in July, 2015, you will able to enroll from April through October, 2015

Some folks wait until they retire to enroll in Medicare – often when they are 67 or older. Be sure to talk to your benefits advisor if you plan to work past age 65. You may need to enroll in Medicare Part B even if you are getting your health insurance through your employer. Your prescription drug coverage through your employer must also be “creditable”, which means it is at least as good as Medicare’s. If it’s not, you may be subject to late enrollment penalties when you leave your employer’s group coverage and begin Medicare.   If you are still working and receive health care benefits from an eligible employer, you will have an eight-month Special Enrollment Period to enroll (without penalty) once you quite working or your group health plan ends, whichever comes first.

Medicare Tip 2: Know the different parts of Medicare.

Medicare is often referred to as different “parts”. First there is Original Medicare, which consists of Part A – Hospital, and Part B – Medical. People often purchase supplemental insurance to help close the gap in Original Medicare coverage. The “other” Medicare insurance is called Medicare Advantage, or Part C. It combines Parts A and Part B into one plan and will often include Part D, prescription drug coverage. Part D coverage is required by Medicare – either by purchasing a Medicare Advantage plan that includes prescription drug coverage, by purchasing a standalone Part D plan (only for those with Original Medicare or Medicare Supplement), or having other employer, union or military drug coverage that is at least as good as Medicare Part D.

Medicare Tip 3: Know your health care needs.

There are a lot of different options for Medicare coverage, and it can be very confusing picking which parts are right for you. The first step is to figure out your health care needs.

  • Do you take a lot of prescription drugs?
  • Do you need vision, hearing, and/or dental coverage?
  • Do you have a medical condition that requires a lot of care or doctor visits?
  • Are there certain doctors or specialists that you know you want to be able to see?

Answering these questions will help you understand what services you need covered under your Medicare plan.

Medicare Tip 4: Do some research.

Take some time to learn about Medicare. At StableView Health, we provide a lot of helpful resources to our neighbors in our community. Visit our Medicare Academy website at to learn more about all of the Medicare options available to you and find answers to all of your Medicare questions.

Medicare Academy offers:

  • Educational videos, including a video on the ABC’s and D of Medicare
  • Free Medicare tools and resources- download a free copy of our Medicare 101 Guide
  • Historical references on Original Medicare
  • Access to a free e-newsletter “Medicare Minute,” filled with a wealth of Medicare articles, tips and tools


Medicare Tip 5: Still have questions?

If you’re not quite ready to make the decision on your own, we have resources at your disposal to help point you in the right direction. Visit us at the i know expo on Sunday, April 12, 2015 at the Lexington Center. Parking for this event is free! Information is also available on our website at or at .

StableView Health is an HMO plan with a Medicare contract. Enrollment in StableView Health depends on contract renewal.