Medicare benefits start at age 65, but also cover disabled individuals under age 65. Seniors typically must apply for benefits during the 7 month period from 3 months before age 65 through 3 months after that birthday. Many people also purchase a Medicare supplement or Medigap policy in addition to Medicare coverage as well as a Part D prescription drug plan.
Medigap policies and Part D plans might not be necessary if individuals enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan from a private insurer (though these plans will likely require using in network providers).
In 2017, after total out of pocket spending reaches $4,950, Medicare and the insurer generally pay for 95% of drug costs.
Comment: There are programs such as SHINE (Serving Health Insurance Needs of Everyone) which assist people to make the Medicare plan decision that is most suitable. There are also state assistance programs available.
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