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All About Medicare

What is Medicare? Medicare was designed to help you afford good health care.

It comes in parts A, B, C, and D. Parts A and B come from the government and are also called “Original Medicare.” Original Medicare covers some basics, like hospital stays and doctor visits, but you’ll want more coverage to help pay for services not included in Original Medicare. Part C is Medicare Advantage. You can use it to add benefits like prescription drug coverage (Part D), dental, or hearing.

Almost eligible for Medicare?  Learn more about Turning 65

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It all starts with Original Medicare

You’ll want to get Parts A and B. Once you have it, most people add to Original Medicare to help save money and get more coverage.

Hospital Insurance

Medicare Part A

Medicare Part A is a basic building block of Medicare. It covers services like hospital stays and hospice care. You may pay a premium for Part A though most people don’t. As long as you sign up when you’re first eligible for Medicare and you or your spouse paid Medicare taxes while working.

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Medical Insurance

Medicare Part B

Medicare Part B pays 80% of approved charges for services like doctor visits and outpatient care. It’s optional, but most people get it. You’ll probably pay around $100 a month for your premium, but Empire offers a variety of Medicare Advantage plans to help with Part B costs like copays, coinsurance, and deductibles. Be sure to enroll on time to avoid penalties.

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When should you enroll in Original Medicare?

Since you’ll need Parts A and B to start, let’s find the best time for you to enroll. Once you understand your Medicare eligibility, you can enroll in Original Medicare. Then we’ll help you complete the rest of your coverage.

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Looking to change your Medicare plan?

Medicare Advantage or Part D plans can be changed or added during the Annual Election Period (AEP), which is from October 15 to December 7. Some people qualify for Special Enrollment Periods (SEP).

You’ve got options!

If you plan to keep working at 65, and you’re self-employed or you work for a small business, you’ll want to get Medicare when you turn 65. Check back here 3 months before your birthday, sign up for Original Medicare, and complete your coverage with our Empire Medicare plans.

If you’re working at a big company, and stay on your employer’s plan, it’s still a good idea to research your Medicare options 3 months before you turn 65. Using parts of Medicare may save you money even before you retire.

Your timing is perfect!

You can decide to use all or part of your Medicare benefits, even if you still work. Just enroll before your birthday to avoid penalties or gaps in coverage.

OK! Just enroll when you retire.

You’re probably still enrolled in the healthcare plan you have with your employer. That’s great, but you can still check out whether using parts of Medicare could save you money even while you work. Explore our Medicare plans and watch for yearly enrollment periods.

Good job checking in!

You’ve got some time so it’s a great idea to start exploring your Medicare options. Check out Empire’s plans now and be sure to enroll in Original Medicare 3 months before your 65th birthday.

Perfect timing!

It’s within 3 months of birthday month. Now is the perfect time to look into Medicare and the plans we offer. Sign up for Original Medicare now so your coverage starts before your birthday and you avoid paying penalties on Parts A, B, or D. Then add the Medicare plans you want from Empire to complete your coverage.

Happy birthday!

Now is the time to sign up for Original Medicare. Since you just turned 65, you can still get it without paying any government penalties if you enroll now. However, your coverage may take a few months to kick in. Once you’re enrolled, come back to Empire to complete your coverage with our plans.

Enroll as soon as possible.

Since you’re over 65, you qualify for Medicare and you should sign up now. You can get great plans but it might take a few months to kick in. And since you’re a little late signing up, you may have to pay some penalties on your premiums for Medicare programs.

We complete your Medicare coverage

Parts A and B were just the beginning. To enhance Original Medicare, most people add plans to help cover costs and expand their coverage.

Medicare Supplement Insurance

Medicare Supplement

Medicare Supplement insurance plans help pay for things Original Medicare doesn’t cover, like your coinsurance, copays, or deductibles. Empire doesn’t currently offer Medicare Supplement plans in New York, but our Medicare Advantage  Plans offer similar coverage in a budget-friendly package.

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Medicare Prescription Drug Coverage Plans

Medicare Part D

Part D is Medicare’s prescription drug program. You get a plan through private insurers like us. It’s also included in most Medicare Advantage plans, or it can be added as a standalone plan. With prescription drug coverage, you’ll get affordable benefits for prescriptions you have now or may need in the future.

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Medicare Advantage Plans

Medicare Part C

Part C, called Medicare Advantage, is a way to bundle coverage into a low-cost plan. Empire’s Medicare Advantage Plans cover everything from Medicare Parts A, B, and (often) D in one affordable monthly premium. You can pick an HMO or PPO plan. And you can add benefits like dental, vision, and hearing.

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Shop Plans

Ready? Let's go.

1. Get Original Medicare

Head to ssa.gov just before you turn 65 or when you first become eligible for Medicare. Get signed up for Parts A and B.

2. Complete your coverage

Visit us. Get all the additional coverage you’ll need right here. You can get prescription drug coverage, hearing, vision, dental - all the things Original Medicare doesn’t cover.

3. Renew or change each year

Look for yearly enrollment periods so you can change or renew your coverage. Some plans can be added any time. Original Medicare renews automatically each year.


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A CONSUMER’S GUIDE TO HEALTH INSURANCE FOR PEOPLE ELIGIBLE FOR MEDICARE MAY BE OBTAINED FROM YOUR LOCAL SOCIAL SECURITY OFFICE OR FROM THIS INSURER.

Empire BlueCross BlueShield is an HMO plan with a Medicare contract. Enrollment in Empire BlueCross BlueShield depends on contract renewal. Services provided by Empire HealthChoice HMO, Inc. licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, an association of independent Blue Cross and Blue Shield plans.

Services provided by Empire HealthChoice Assurance, Inc., licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, an association of independent Blue Cross and Blue Shield plans. The Blue Cross and Blue Shield names and symbols are registered marks of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association.

This information is not a complete description of benefits. Contact the plan for more information. Limitations, copayments, and restrictions may apply. Benefits, premiums and/or co-payments/co-insurance may change on January 1 of each year. You must continue to pay your Medicare Part B premium.

Attention: If you speak any language other than English, language assistance services, free of charge, are available to you. Call our Customer Service number, (TTY: 711). ATENCIÓN: Si habla español, tiene a su disposición servicios gratuitos de asistencia lingüística. Llame a nuestro número de Servicio de Atención al Cliente (TTY: 711). 注意:如果您使用非英語的其他語言,您可以免費獲得語言援助服務。請致電聯絡客戶服務部(聽語障用戶請致電:711)。