Frequently Asked Questions

How Do I Apply for Original Medicare?

The steps for applying to the Medicare program are fairly straight-forward. If you receive benefits from Social Security or the Railroad Retirement Board (RRB) you are automatically enrolled in Original Medicare (Part A and Part B) beginning the first day of the month you turn sixty-five. You should receive your card in the mail approximately 3 months before your 65th birthday.

If you aren’t receiving Social Security or RRB benefits there are 3 simple ways to apply:
1. Online – Visit www.Medicare.gov and click apply for Medicare
2. By Phone – Call 1-800-Medicare
3. In Person – Visit your local Social Security office.

What is a Medicare Advantage Plan?

A Medicare Advantage Plan is a type of Medicare health plan offered by a private company that contracts with Medicare to provide you with all your Part A and Part B benefits. Medicare Advantage Plans are not the same as Original Medicare or Medicare Supplements. Medicare Advantage Plans must cover all of the services that Original Medicare covers except hospice care. Original Medicare covers hospice care even if you're in a Medicare Advantage Plan.

What is a Medicare Supplement Insurance Plan?

Medicare Supplement (Medigap) insurance plans are, sold by private companies, can help pay some of the health care costs that Original Medicare doesn't cover, like copayments, coinsurance, and deductibles. Medigap plans are not Part C or the same as a Medicare Advantage Plan.

How Much Does It Cost to Enroll in Original Medicare (Parts A & B)?

Monthly costs for Medicare parts A & B can vary for each individual as they are subject to both yearly changes and individual income levels. Please consult www.Medicare.gov or a licensed agent for the most up to date estimates.

How Can I Get Help with My Prescription Costs?

The first thing you should always do is make sure you are in the best plan for your particular prescriptions. Just because your plan covers all your prescriptions doesn’t mean you are getting the best deal on them. You can have our agents compare plans for free by contacting us today or visit www.Medicare.gov to compare on your own.

If that doesn’t save you enough, Medicare beneficiaries can apply for Extra Help through Social Security. The Extra Help or Low Income Subsidy (LIS) is estimated to be worth about $4,000 per year. To qualify for the Extra Help, a person must be receiving Medicare, have limited resources and income, and reside in one of the 50 States or the District of Columbia. There are 3 simple ways to apply:

1. Online – Visit www.SocialSecurity.gov/extrahelp
2. By Phone – Call Social Security 1-800-772-1213
3. In Person – Visit your local Social Security office University of studies, country, city

What is the Letter at the End of My Medicare Claim Number?

Social Security assigns these codes once you apply for benefits. These letter codes may appear on correspondence you receive from Social Security or on your Medicare card. They will never appear on a Social Security card.

For example, if the wage earner applying for benefits and your number is 123-45-6789, then your claim number is 123-45-6789A. This number will also be used as your Medicare claim number, once you are eligible for Medicare.

Code Identification

A Primary claimant (wage earner)
B Aged wife, age 62 or over
B1 Aged husband, age 62 or over
B2 Young wife, with a child in her care
B3 Aged wife, age 62 or over, second claimant
B5 Young wife, with a child in her care, second claimant
B6 Divorced wife, age 62 or over
BY Young husband, with a child in his care
C1-C9 Child - Includes minor, student or disabled child
D Aged Widow, age 60 or over
D1 Aged widower, age 60 or over
D2 Aged widow (2nd claimant)
D3 Aged widower (2nd claimant)
D6 Surviving Divorced Wife, age 60 or over
E Widowed Mother
E1 Surviving Divorced Mother
E4 Widowed Father
E5 Surviving Divorced Father
F1 Parent (Father)
F2 Parent (Mother)
F3 Stepfather
F4 Stepmother
F5 Adopting Father
F6 Adopting Mother
HA Disabled claimant (wage earner)
HB Aged wife of disabled claimant, age 62 or over
M Uninsured – Premium Health Insurance Benefits (Part A)
M1 Uninsured - Qualified for but refused Health Insurance Benefits (Part A)
T Uninsured - Entitled to HIB (Part A) under deemed or renal provisions; or Fully insured who have elected entitlement only to HIB
TA Medicare Qualified Government Employment (MQGE)
TB MQGE aged spouse
W Disabled Widow
W1 Disabled Widower
W6 Disabled Surviving Divorced Wife

NOTE: This list is not complete, but shows the most common beneficiary codes.

What is the difference between Medicare and Medicaid or Medi-Cal?

Medicare is a federal entitlement program designed to provide medical coverage to Americans sixty-five and over. The program also covers all those with End Stage Renal Disease and many disabled individuals.

Medicaid or Medi-Cal as it is called in California is a similar entitlement program meant to address the needs of a different population: the impoverished, children, pregnant women, and the disabled. Medicaid is a state-federal cooperative effort to provide basic medical assistance to individuals who cannot afford private health insurance. There are different eligibility requirements in each state, but all states have an income ceiling which recipients must be below. In some instances individuals may be “dual-eligible” for and enrolled in both Medicare and Medicaid.