Transitioning to Medicare is a complex process that requires truly understanding your options and finding the best Medicare solutions for your specific situation.

Most people don’t consider that one illness can quickly wipe out a nest egg without the proper coverage. We are providing the following resources and guide below to help you avoid the most common mistakes when transitioning to Medicare, saving you money in fines and penalties, as well as excessive out-of-pocket costs.

Our Step-by-Step Guide for Transitioning to Medicare

When you become eligible for Medicare, timing is extremely important in the enrollment process.  Delaying your enrollment could result in late enrollment penalties and gaps in coverage. Taking the right steps to enroll in Medicare, at the right time, ensures your Medicare journey is a smooth one and protects your financial future.

Initial Enrollment Period: 7 months, which starts 3 months before your 65th birthday, and includes your birthday month, and ends 3 months after your 65th birthday.

Step 1 - Estimate Your Costs

Review your healthcare needs and financial goals

Original Medicare does not cover all your healthcare costs, but you have options with Medicare. Review your overall healthcare costs and needs, including regular health maintenance visits, specialists you see, prescription drug costs and any procedures you know you will need. This will help you understand your overall financial picture.

Step 2 - Review Your Plan's Providers

Make sure you can use your preferred providers

Check to see if your current healthcare providers accept Medicare. While most do, some doctors opt out of Medicare so they are not required to follow Medicare rules. In other words, you’ll want to make sure your doctor is part of any preferred network and can’t tack on extra costs and you are getting the lowest cost for services. 

Step 3 - Educate Yourself on Medicare

Learn and understand the basics of Medicare

Before you select a plan, take time to understand all the different parts of Medicare. Selecting the wrong coverage can cost you. You can also pay fines and penalties if you do not enroll within your specific initial enrollment period, or in a timely manner during annual enrollment! Click here to visit our Medicare Resources at the top of this page.

Step 4 - Get FREE Help From an Expert

Get FREE professional help from Northwest General

Talk to us! We’ll do the leg work for you, helping you to add up all your costs (copays, premiums, etc.) so you can pick the best option. And we continue to be resource for you annually, as plans may change, or your needs evolve. Our guidance is provided at no cost and no obligation! Give us a call or simply fill out our online contact form.

Step 5 - Enroll in Medicare On Time

Medicare is not automatic – enroll in Medicare at the right time

You need to enroll in original Medicare (Parts A & B) before you can buy a Medicare Advantage or Supplement plan. To enroll, you will provide proof of your eligibility. This can be a birth certificate, proof citizenship, W-2 or tax forms, and or military records. See more on how and where to apply below in the FAQs section below.

Frequently Asked Questions about Medicare Enrollment

Where do I sign up for Medicare?

You can apply online or call your local Social Security office. You’ll enroll, create your Medicare account, track your Medicare information such as bills, claims, health information and more, as well as print your Medicare card.

Click here to apply online at Social Security.

When do I sign up for Medicare?

The initial enrollment period for those aging into Medicare is 7 months, which starts 3 months before your 65th birthday, and includes your birthday month, and ends 3 months after your 65th birthday.

I am still covered under employer benefits. Do I still have to sign up for Medicare? Can I delay my initial enrollment?

Yes you can continue to receive employer benefits. If you are still receiving work benefits, you still have the option of enrolling in Medicare Part A during your initial enrollment age, if you decide it is wise for your specific healthcare needs. Remember, for most people the Part A premium is free. Also, keep in mind that Medicare is not automatic (as discussed above) so you will need to enroll yourself when your enrollment period begins. It’s important to note that you can only delay enrolling in Part B and Part D without incurring late enrollment penalties if you have creditable coverage from your employer, or your spouses employer. Creditable coverage requires that If the employer group has 20 eligible employees or more, then you may be able stay on that plan. There are many things to consider and you should talk to a professional to make sure you are making the right moves.

Can my spouse and I be on the same Medicare plan?

No, Medicare is an individual plan. Medicare does not have spousal or dependent coverage. If your spouse has reached age eligibility (65), then they can enroll in Medicare of their own accord 90 days in advance of the month they turn 65.


Some of the above information on Medicare was retrieved from

Northwest General, nor it’s agents, are not part of the Federal Government Medicare System. The content in on this page has not been reviewed or approved by Medicare.

I/We do not offer every plan available in your area. Any information I/we provide is limited to the plans I/we do offer in your area. Please contact or 1-800-Medicare to get information on all of your options.