Navigating the Medicare maze can be as daunting as doing your taxes, or worse. If you're just getting your feet wet, you may become perplexed by all of the information on the internet and other sources. On this page we've included several of the best links we've found to helpful, useful advice and information. Those links are in the column at right, with summary information about them below.
Medicare & You is Medicare's official guide and member handbook. Published each year, it contains several dozen pages of information about Medicare qualifications, enrollment, benefits and options. If you're just getting started, it's a great resource to get you acquainted and answer some of your initial questions about Medicare.
Medicare.gov has a "getting started" page that walks you through the process of determining eligibility and taking the steps necessary to choose your coverage and enroll. Medicare.gov also has a helpful video condensing the process into only a few minutes:
A Medicare Supplement Insurance (Medigap) policy can help pay some of the health care costs that basic Medicare doesn't cover, like copayments, coinsurance and deductibles. Some Medigap policies also offer coverage for services that Medicare doesn't cover, like medical care when you travel abroad. If you have Medicare and you buy a Medigap policy, Medicare will pay its share of the Medicare-approved amount for covered health care costs. Then your Medigap policy pays its share. To find Medigap policies available in your Zip Code, visit Medicare's Medigap Policy Search page.
You may have heard of Medicare Advantage Plans. Unlike the Medigap policies mentioned above, a Medicare Advantage Plan is a way to get Medicare benefits, while a Medigap policy only supplements basic Medicare benefits. Some Advantage plans are available with zero-cost premiums to you. You can browse these plans in your area by visiting Q1Medicare.com. (The page linked here will take you directly to the plans available in Monroe County, Florida -- scroll down to see the available plans -- but you can enter any Zip Code in the form at the top of the page to find plans available in that area.)
Bob Carlson's Retirement Watch featured a nice article in 2014 containing tips for choosing a Medicare Supplement Plan. The article may be two years old but the information is still very useful; give it a read!