For Seniors Who Are New to Medicare

Mar 1st, 2011 | By Sharon Shaw Elrod MSW EdD | Category: Social Security & Medicare

This article is for those of you Senior Citizen Journal readers who are new to Medicare.  The Medicare.gov website suggests six things you need to do to get started with your Medicare benefits.  And in addition to these six suggestions, SCJ recommends reading the Medicare articles we posted over the past three years.  You will find a lot of valuable information in an easy-to-read format, without having to do all the Internet searching yourself.

The six items on the Medicare.gov check list are

  1. Fill out an Initial Enrollment Questionnaire.  This document provides the Centers for Medicare Services with information about you that they need to process your medical bills.  It’s just the basic stuff… name, address, Social Security number, other health insurance etc.  You can complete this form and mail it to Medicare, you can complete it on the Internet, or you can do it over the phone (1-800-999-1888).  This form is mailed to you automatically about three months before your Medicare benefits kick in.
       
  2. Fill out an Authorization Form.  This document gives Medicare permission to give your personal health information to other offices/companies/medical personnel who need it in order for your Medicare coverage to be complete.  It also gives permission for someone(s) in your family (or a close friend) to call Medicare on your behalf, in the event you are unable to do so.  There are several ways you can give your permission:  complete an e-Authorization Form online, download and print a PDF version of the Standard Authorization form (Mail the completed, signed form to Medicare BCC, Written Authorization Department, P.O. Box 1270, Lawrence, KS 66044.), or call 1-800-MEDICARE and complete the form over the phone. 
  3. Make a Welcome to Medicare Physical Exam.  This medical exam is with your primary care physician and is free.  It’s a one-time comprehensive exam offered in the first 12 months you are covered by Medicare.  You and your physician can establish a ‘base-line’ for your medical care in your senior years, including identifying how to improve your health and help you stay well.  is free, one-time comprehensive exam is offered during the first 12 months you have Medicare.
  4. Sign up for MyMedicare.gov.  This is the Internet website that gives you access to your personal Medicare information 24/7.  You need to register online, and a password will be sent to you for security purposes.  Then  you can do the following online:  Complete your Initial Enrollment Questionnaire (IEQ), Track your health care claims, Order a Medicare Summary Notice (MSN) or replacement Medicare card, Check your Part B deductible status, View your eligibility information, Track your preventive services, Find information about your Medicare health or prescription drug plan, or search for a new one, Keep your Medicare information in one convenient place, Sign up to get the “Medicare & You” handbook electronically.
  5. Choose and join a Medicare Part D prescription drug plan.  When you are new to Medicare, you have seven (7) months to join a plan.  The seven month period begins three months before your benefits kick in.  You can easily find Medicare drug plans in your area online, and you can complete the application information online as well.
  6. You can download a copy of “Your Medicare Benefits” online.  This is an annual publication that explains the rules about your health care services and supplies that Medicare covers, your special benefits, and how much Medicare pays and how much you pay for services. 

SCJ recommends all Baby Boomers getting ready to enroll for Medicare follow this checklist to be sure all available benefits are accessed.



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