Five things you need to know before AEP

October 21, 2010

As part of our ongoing effort to make sure people aging in to Medicare have the information they need, Extend Health just put out a press release titled “For Seniors Turning 65: With the Medicare Annual Enrollment Period Less Than a Month Away, Five Things You Should Know About Medicare and Your Coverage Options.”  The press release provides a link to our free guide to Medicare, which includes a section on eligibility rules, explains the different parts of Medicare, the advantages of different private Medicare options, and how to enroll, and contains a glossary of Medicare terms. If you’re a person aging in to Medicare, or an employer with Medicare-eligible employees or retirees asking questions about Medicare, this guide is a very useful resource.

3 Responses to “Five things you need to know before AEP”

  1. Thomas R. Martin said

    Of the 10 Medicare plans authorized by the government, that is, A, B,——N. how do we know exactly which one of these plans an insurance company is quoting premiums?

    What is the basic difference between Medigap Plans and Medicare Advantage Plans.
    Do not both plans incorporate the basic A, B and C provisions of Medicare.

    What causes the wide disparity in premiums between the two plans?

    • cholla45 said

      Great questions. The Medicare and You guide that CMS sends to all Medicare recipients does a good job of explaining the difference between Medigap and Medicare Advantage. Extend Health also has a good guide to the parts of Medicare on our web site, here:

      Medicare Advantage is sometimes called Medicare Part C. All of your Medicare part A and B services, and often Medicare Part D prescription drug coverage, are covered in Medicare Advantage plans. People who enroll in an MA plan continue to pay their Medicare Part B (and Part A, if applicable) premiums as well as any premium associated with the MA plan.

      Medigap plans cover expenses not covered under Medicare Part A and B. Each of the plans A – N has slightly different benefits. A Medigap insurance plan will include the letter in its name: for example, “Anthem Blue Cross Plan N” or “Mutual of Omaha Plan A.”

      You can read more about the different types of Medicare insurance and search for plans available in your area at You won’t have to give your name or contact information if you don’t want to speak with anyone, but you’re also welcome to call one of our benefits advisors if you have questions. You can reach our service center at 1-866-322-2824 (TTY: 1-866-508-5123) Mon.-Fri. 9 am to 9 pm Eastern time.

      Hope that’s helpful!

      • cholla45 said

        I forgot to explain why there’s a disparity between the cost of MA plans and Medigap plans. It’s really a function of how the benefits are designed for the different types of plans. The key is to understand fully what is covered and what your out of pocket expenses will be. A Medigap plan may have a higher premium than an MA plan, but if you review deductibles, co-pays, and covered expenses, you may actually find that a Medigap plan is a less costly option.

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