Hi, thanks for visiting. It looks like you are using an unsupported browser. Please use Chrome or Firefox.

Next Steps

Step 1: Research your options early

There are two main ways to get Medicare. You can choose Original Medicare Parts A and B provided by the government. You can also choose a Medicare Supplement plan, a Prescription Drug Plan (Part D) or Medicare Advantage (Part C). But if you read through our LEARN section, you know there's a lot more to it than that. Some extra research and preparation now may save you hundreds of dollars in out-of-pocket costs from having too little or too much coverage - or higher ongoing costs from enrolling late.

Find out all you can about Original Medicare's gaps and how they may impact you. Learn the advantages and disadvantages between combining Original Medicare with Part C, Part D and a Medicare Supplement. And make sure you know how your timing and enrollment choices may impact your costs down the road. Start early and try several of these ways to be sure you're armed with enough information.

Note: Medicare Advantage (Part C) is not available from BCBSWY

Step 2: Assess your health

To choose the best way to set up your Medicare, you should evaluate your health by asking yourself these questions:

  1. Are you in good health or do you have a chronic condition such as diabetes or heart disease?
  2. How often do you see your doctor for preventive care? For your chronic condition?
  3. Do you need to take medications every day? What prescription drugs do you take?
  4. Has your health changed recently (a new diagnosis) or do you have any surgeries coming up?

Chronic medical conditions, such as diabetes or heart disease, often require daily prescription medications and frequent doctor visits. Since Medicare Parts A and B don't cover expenses like prescription drugs or eye exams, you may want to consider a private insurance plan that offers this coverage.

If you need surgery, you'll want a plan that covers as much of your hospital stay as possible. In addition, you may need a plan that offers extra coverage for home health care, skilled nursing care or physical therapy during your recovery.

Step 3: Compare plans and understand the differences

Original Medicare (Parts A and B) provides the same coverage and cost for everyone nationwide. On the other hand, costs and benefits for Medicare Supplements, Prescription Drug Plans (Part D) and Medicare Advantage (Part C) can vary. So, it's important that you look beyond premiums to compare plans on a benefit-by-benefit basis.

  • For instance, coverage for Medicare Supplements is regulated and standardized by the state. That means that within the same state, features and coverage will be identical. But the premium costs charged by private insurers for the same plan type can be very different. The types of Medicare Supplement plans offered can also vary by the company. Prescription Drug Plans (Part D) and Medicare Advantage (Part C) are private insurance plans that can vary between companies by benefits and premium costs.
  • If keeping the same caregivers and coverage for specific medications are important to you, be sure to check that your provider and prescription drugs are covered when evaluating each plan. These differences are not only important when you're making choices for initial enrollment, but also from year to year.

Note: Medicare Advantage (Part C) is not available from BCBSWY

Step 4: Find the right match for you

Remember, there is no "one size fits all" in Medicare. With the information you gathered in Steps 1 - 3, you may want to consider a combination of plan types to get the coverage you need. Here are some possible combinations to fit your needs.

  • Original Medicare (Parts A and B)
  • Original Medicare (Parts A and B) plus a stand-alone Part D drug plan
  • Original Medicare (Parts A and B) plus a stand-alone Part D drug plan plus a Medicare Supplemental plan
  • Original Medicare (Parts A and B) plus a Medicare Supplemental plan
  • Medicare Advantage (Part C) that includes Part D prescription drug coverage
  • Medicare Advantage Plan (Part C)

Note: Medicare Advantage (Part C) is not available from BCBSWY

Step 5: Enroll

Once you've made an informed choice about the right Medicare plan for you, enrollment is much easier. Use our enrollment timelines to determine your schedule, then be sure to enroll on time for Medicare Parts A and B. Once enrolled in Original Medicare, you can enroll in a BCBSWY Medicare Supplement plan and/or a BCBSWY Prescription Drug Plan. See BCBSWY Plan Documents