Medicare 101 FAQs | Wellmark
Skip to main content

General

The first time you will be eligible to enroll in Original Medicare (Part A and Part B) is during your Initial Enrollment Period. This period includes the three months before and after you turn 65, plus your birth month.

Every enrollment situation is different and many factors make a difference in when you should enroll in Parts A and B. Learn more about the Initial Enrollment Period and when to enroll in Original Medicare.

As long as you were eligible for Medicare before Jan. 1, 2020, you can enroll in Plan F. Get more Plan F questions answered on BlueSM.

Depending on your situation, you may qualify for other coverage, or you may want to purchase an individual policy. For more details, talk to an agent or visit Healthcare.gov External Site.

With a MedicareBlue SupplementSM plan, you can see any Medicare-participating doctor you want. Search for your doctor or find other doctors who treat Medicare patients using the physician compare tool External Site on Medicare.gov.

You do not need a physical to qualify for Medicare, but you do need to complete a one-time preventive physical exam – the "Welcome to Medicare" exam – within one year of beginning Part B coverage. This physical is covered by Part B.

Yes, you can enroll in Medicare and receive benefits no matter your health status. You won’t be charged higher premiums because of past or current health conditions.

Yes, Medicare rates and deductibles change each fall for the coming year. Medicare members are notified of these changes by mail, in the fall between Oct. 15 and Dec. 7 each year, and changes take place Jan. 1 the following year.

Enrollment

Most people choose to enroll in Part A, even if they have other qualifying health coverage, if they are eligible for premium-free Part A coverage because it can help cover costs not covered by their existing health coverage. Note that enrolling in Part A will end the ability to contribute to a health savings account (HSA).

If you aren’t eligible for premium-free Part A, and don’t have other qualifying health coverage, you should enroll when you’re first eligible in order to avoid a penalty. Contact Social Security to enroll yourself.

To apply for Original Medicare (Parts A and B)

  • ONLINE — Visit Social Security online External Site and follow the instructions. The application takes less than 10 minutes. After you submit the application, you will get a receipt and an application number you can use to check the status of your application later. Once you are enrolled, Social Security will send you a "Welcome to Medicare" packet that includes your Medicare card.
  • BY PHONE — Call the Social Security national customer hotline at 800-772-1213.
  • IN PERSON — Visit your local Social Security office.

It depends. You may want to delay enrolling in Part B if you still have qualifying health coverage through an employer or a spouse's employer. If this is the case, you may qualify for a Special Enrollment Period. What is a Special Enrollment Period for Part B?

If you don't enroll in Part B during your Initial Enrollment Period, and you are not eligible for a Special Enrollment Period, you will be able to enroll again each year during the General Enrollment Period between Jan. 1 and Mar. 31, but you may have to pay a penalty. If you enroll during this period, your coverage begins the following July 1.

You don’t have to enroll in Medicare Part B if you're still covered by qualifying health insurance through your employer or your spouse's employer. But, most people choose to enroll in Medicare Part A if they are eligible for premium-free Part A coverage.

Find an agent or talk to a Wellmark representative at 800-336-0505 to learn more.

There are many different paths when it comes to Medicare. Check out The Road to Medicare from BlueSM to help you find the path what works best for you.

You can apply for a Medicare supplement plan from Wellmark beginning the first day of the month your Part B coverage is effective, and you must have your Medicare card before you enroll. If you enroll during the first six months you’re covered by Part B, you won’t need to answer any health questions, during a period called guaranteed issue.

You can apply for dental and vision/hearing during Medicare supplement enrollment and prescription drug coverage (Plan D) as soon as you receive your Medicare ID card in the mail.