New to Medicare? Follow This Checklist for a Successful Start

Published by: Medicare Made Clear

If you’ve recently joined Medicare, welcome!

 

You may feel a bit overwhelmed from the enrollment process still, but don’t worry, you’re not alone. And you may be wondering, “What are my next steps?” Don’t worry. Here are 7 tips to help make your Medicare journey a smooth one.

 

 

1. Review Your New Medicare Cards

 

When you enroll in Medicare Part A and Part B, you will get a Medicare card in the mail soon after. Review your new Medicare card to ensure you understand how to contact Medicare and what kind of Medicare coverage you have.

 

You may have other cards as well if you signed up for a private Medicare plan such as a Medicare Advantage plan (Part C), a Part D prescription drug plan or a Medicare supplement insurance plan (Medigap). Review these and make note about how to contact your plan provider for customer service issues or coverage questions.

 

Keep all your health insurance cards in a safe place and be sure to always bring them with you to the doctor or pharmacy.

 

 

2. Review New Medicare Coverage

 

Once you are done enrolling in Medicare, be sure to re-review what health care services and items are covered, how they are covered and how cost sharing will work. What is covered and how will vary based on the kind of Medicare coverage you chose – for example, you may have chosen Original Medicare (Parts A & B) and a stand-alone Part D plan or you may have chosen a Medicare Advantage plan. How things are covered and what your costs are will be different here. 

 

 

3. Schedule your Welcome to Medicare Visit

 

You should schedule your Welcome to Medicare Visit during the first 12 months you have Medicare Part B. This is a one-time exam that will give you a full review of your health and teach you about preventive services you may need. There is no additional cost for the visit, and the Part B deductible does not apply.

 

 

4. Learn How to Pay Your Medicare Premiums

 

Medicare Parts A, B, C and D may all have premiums you need to pay. You will pay Medicare directly for Parts A and B, but if you have a private Medicare plan (like Part D), you will pay any premiums to the plan provider directly.

 

Here’s a great article about options for paying for Part B.

 

 

5. Fill Out An Authorization Form

 

If you want a family member or friend to call Medicare on your behalf. Before Medicare will give personal health information about you to anyone, you must first give Medicare your written permission.

 

 

6. Sign Up: MyMedicare.gov

 

Sign up for Medicare’s secure online service where you can access your personal Medicare information 24 hours a day, every day. You can:

 

  • Track your health care claims
  • View your Medicare Summary Notices (MSNs)
  • Order a replacement Medicare card
  • Check your Medicare Part B deductible status
  • View your eligibility information
  • Track your preventive services
  • Find information about your Medicare health plan or Medicare Prescription Drug plan (Part D), or search for a new one
  • Keep your Medicare information in one place

 

 

7. Sign Up for Your Plan Provider’s Online Member Portal

 

Many Medicare providers offer members online portals similar to MyMedicare.gov but specific to the insurance company and your Medicare plan benefits. It’s always a great idea to set up your online member portal if it’s offered as soon as possible. Usually these are helpful for quickly finding answers about coverage questions, getting help with your plan and other plan-related tasks.

 

 

Keep These Tips Handy

 

Knowing what to expect and do now that you’re on Medicare will help make your journey a much smoother one. These seven tips are great to keep in mind.

Learn More About Coverage for Your Prescriptions, Providers, and Other Benefits

About the Author

Medicare Made Clear

 

Providing simple information and clear answers about Medicare insurance plans and choices for current and future beneficiaries, retirees, caregivers and health care providers.

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