Carewell’s Comprehensive Guide to Medicare Plans

Brianna Maguire

Written by Brianna Maguire on Mon Sep 11 2023.

Couple on computer.

Medicare plays a pivotal role in ensuring that individuals receive the healthcare they need as they age. Medicare is a federal health insurance program designed to provide coverage for individuals aged 65 and older, as well as certain younger individuals with disabilities. As healthcare needs evolve over time, having a comprehensive and flexible coverage plan becomes increasingly essential.

That’s why we put together a guide to help you and your family break down the complexity of Medicare and Medicare plans. In this article, we'll equip you with the knowledge and tools needed to navigate Medicare’s Annual Enrollment Period with confidence and help your loved ones have the best possible coverage based on how they use their healthcare.

Understanding Medicare Plans

There are four parts to Medicare: Part A, Part B, Part C, and Part D. To get a deep dive of each of these parts, check out our article The ABCs of Medicare.

Put simply, the parts are:

Part A: Hospital Coverage. This offers essential coverage for inpatient hospital-related expenses like hospital stays and hospice care.

Part B: Medical Insurance. Part B offers coverage for medical services needed to diagnose and treat medical conditions, like outpatient care, doctor’s visits and preventative services.

Part C: Medicare Advantage. Part C combines Part A, B, and sometimes D into one simple plan that’s offered by private insurance companies. It may also provide additional benefits that are not covered by Parts A and B.

Part D: Prescription Drug Coverage. Part D helps manage the costs of prescription medications through private insurance plans approved by Medicare.

What’s the Annual Enrollment Period?

Medicare Annual Enrollment Period lasts from October 15 - December 7th each year. This is your and your family’s opportunity to evaluate or change your Medicare Plan coverage. This is a good time to reassess your healthcare requirements and make sure your plan fits with your medical circumstances.

During the Annual Enrollment Period, you can:

Switch from original Medicare to Medicare Advantage

Modify your prescription drug coverage

Choose a different Medicare Advantage plan

Common Questions about Medicare and the Annual Enrollment Period

Who is eligible for Medicare?

Those aged 65 and older are generally eligible for Medicare, regardless of income or medical history.

You may qualify if you've been receiving Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits for at least 24 months.

End-Stage Renal Disease (ESRD): You can be eligible if you have ESRD, including permanent kidney failure requiring dialysis or a kidney transplant.

What’s the difference between Medicare and Medicare Advantage?

Original Medicare is offered by the federal government and provides Part A (hospital insurance) and Part B (medical insurance), including coverage for hospital stays, outpatient services, and doctor visits. It’s important to know, that with Original Medicare, there are set deductibles, copays, and coinsurance that you will have to pay and there is no maximum out-of-pocket protection.

Medicare Advantage, on the other hand, is an alternative offered by private insurance companies that combine Part A and Part B coverage and can include additional benefits that are not covered by Parts A and B.

Steps to Navigating the Annual Enrollment Period

Ready to get started? It’s as easy as 4 steps.

1. Review Current Coverage & Assess Current Needs

Take some time to review your current Medicare Plan coverage and make sure there aren’t any gaps.

Think about things like:

  • Prescription Medications. Do you have an increased need for prescription drugs?

  • Specialized Care. Do you have new specialized needs?

2. Explore Plan Options

With so many options, it can be challenging to understand which is the best for you and your family. Leverage existing resources like:

Healthpilot, our trusted and 100% free resource for Medicare Plan guidance, the government’s comprehensive resource for Medicare information

3. Consider Additional Benefits like Prescription Drug Coverage

Medicare Advantage (Part C) and prescription drug coverage (Part D) might not be for everyone, but for some families, they can be massively beneficial.

  • Consider Part C if . . . you want a comprehensive plan that covers everything that is covered under Parts A and B and often includes prescription drug coverage and additional benefits that are not covered by Parts A and B.

  • Consider Part D if . . . you take medications regularly.

4. Enroll!

The last step is to enroll in your plan(s) of choice. Our trusted partner, Healthpilot, helps you navigate plan decisions and helps you enroll online. No pushy salespeople or hidden costs - just finding the right Medicare plan for you.

Resource for Navigating Medicare Plans

Need more help understanding Medicare Plans? We’ve got you. Take a look below at some of our most popular Medicare Plan resources:

The ABCs of Medicare: What’s Covered? What’s Not?

Does Medicare Cover in Home Care?

Will Medicare Cover My Motorized Scooter?

Is Hospice Covered by Medicare?

Does Medicare Cover Nursing Homes?

Preventing Medicare Scams

Have More Questions?

At Carewell, we want to make sure you have all the resources you need to make the best decisions for your family. Reach out to our Caregiving Specialists at (800) 696-CARE to learn about the partners we trust to help you with Medicare Plan enrollment. is owned and operated by Healthpilot Technologies LLC, a licensed health insurance agency, also doing business as Healthpilot Insurance Services in the state of California. Healthpilot is not connected with or endorsed by the U.S. government or the federal Medicare program. Healthpilot does not offer every plan available in your area. Any information provided is limited to those plans they do offer in your area. Please contact, 1-800-MEDICARE, or your local State Health Insurance Program to get information on all of your options. This is a solicitation of insurance. 2023-102

Did you find this article helpful?Share it, print it or have it mailed to you!

Brianna Maguire
Brianna Maguire

Brianna Maguire heads up Carewell’s Customer Care Team, and serves as a resource for caregivers that need support. Whether it’s helping customers decide which products are best for their needs, answering caregiver questions, or just providing a shoulder to lean on on a tough day, her job is to make caregivers’ lives easier.