How to Sign Up for Medicare in New York | Getting Started | Empire Blue Skip To Main Content
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Information for New York

Knowing when and how to sign up for Original Medicare, Medicare Advantage, Medicare Supplement, and a Prescription Drug (Part D) plan will make it easier for you to get the coverage you need when the time is right.

How do You Sign up for Original Medicare?

You apply for Medicare with Social Security. You can sign up online, by phone, or at your local office. If you’re already getting Social Security benefits when you turn 65, you don’t have to worry about enrolling.

When Should You Sign up for Original Medicare?

The best time to apply is during your initial enrollment period. That’s the three months before, the month you turn 65, and the three months after. This will help you avoid fees or delays in coverage. If you have questions or are wondering about signing up for Medicare while still working, we can help you find the best time to sign up.

When is the Best Time to Buy Medicare Advantage or a Prescription Drug (Part D) Plan?

Unless you have better drug coverage from another source, the best time to buy a Medicare Advantage (Part C)or Prescription Drug (Part D)plan is right after you become eligible for Original Medicare. This could be during your initial enrollment period when you turn 65, when you are eligible because of disability, or another reason.

If you don’t sign up during this time you will have to wait until the Annual Election Period, unless you are subject to a Special Enrollment Period (SEP). You may also pay a late penalty in the future when you join one of these plans if your plan was not as good as Part D.

Even if you don’t use prescription drugs now, purchasing a Part D or Medicare Advantage plan for the future is a good idea. And since prescription drug use increases with age, it can protect you from paying unexpected costs if you ever need to take one.

When Can You Add a Medicare Supplement plan?

You can sign up for a Medicare Supplement (Medigap) plan during your open enrollment period. This period lasts six months and begins the first day of the month in which you are 65 or older and enrolled in Original Medicare Part B. You must also be signed up for Original Medicare Part A. Sign up during this six-month period to lock in the coverage you need for the future.

How and When Can You Switch Medicare Plans?

If you want to make a change to your plan or switch to another plan, such as changing from a Medicare Advantage to a Medicare Supplement (Medigap) plan, you can do so during the Annual Election Period (AEP). The AEP lasts from October 15 to December 7 each year.

Outside of the AEP, if you have certain life events such as moving or your plan changes, you may be eligible for a Special Enrollment Period (SEP). Special Enrollment Period (SEP). You may also be able to switch your Medicare Supplement plans if you have guaranteed issue rights or are within your 6-month initial open enrollment period.

How Do You Sign Up for a Medicare Advantage or Medicare Supplement and Prescription Drug (Part D) Plan?

You can sign-up for Medicare Advantage, Medicare Supplement, or Prescription Drug (Part D) plan with us. We offer plans in most areas of the country.

Our  secure online store lets you shop for plans. You enter information from your red, white and blue Medicare ID card, any prescriptions, your preferred doctors and facilities and answer a few questions and we’ll show you plans that are a match for you. You can also get answers to your questions, see quote, and can apply online.


Y0114_17_32857_U CMS ACCEPTED 09/29/2017
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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)。