How to prepare for Medicare enrollment

Ready to sign up for Medicare? Here’s what you should know.

You’ve enjoyed the benefits of your current health insurance plan, but now you’re thinking about enrolling in Medicare coverage. If it seems like there’s a lot to consider when you’re changing your coverage, don’t worry: These tips can help guide you through the process.

Understanding Medicare

Medicare is a federal insurance program that’s available to people who are 65 and older. Medicare is also available to those with certain disabilities.

There are four parts of Medicare: Part A, Part B, Part C (or Medicare Advantage) and Part D. These different parts help to cover specific areas of your care. Social Security enrolls you in Original Medicare (Part A and Part B). The other parts of Medicare are run by private insurance companies that follow Medicare’s rules.

Tip #1: Know your Medicare enrollment period

When you turn 65, you can enroll during the initial enrollment period. This period is seven months long: three months before you turn 65 to three months after the month you turned 65.

Tip #2: Review your Medicare plan options to decide what works best for you

When you’re looking through the details of each Medicare plan, consider:

  • The benefits: Which plan will give you the best benefits?
  • The monthly premium amount: Compare the monthly Medicare premium to what you’re already paying through your job.
  • Choose your plan(s): Medicare can work with other types of health insurance.

Tip #3: Consider a Medicare Advantage Plan

If you want more coverage than what you receive with Original Medicare, a Medicare Advantage plan may be a good choice. Medicare Advantage plans offer the same coverage as Original Medicare, plus additional benefits like dental and vision coverage, acupuncture and chiropractic care, over-the-counter (OTC) benefits, free fitness resources and more.

Not all Medicare Advantage plans offer the same benefits, so it's important to shop and compare different plans to find the right one for you. Always evaluate the quality of a health plan, and its network, before purchasing health insurance.

Medicare Advantage options through Sharp Health Plan

Sharp Health Plan offers several Sharp Direct Advantage® plans to all Medicare-eligible individuals who live in San Diego County. You have many choices in Medicare plans, but none compare to Sharp Direct Advantage. As part of the Sharp HealthCare family, we provide the only direct access to The Sharp Experience® from coverage to care. Visit our website at to learn more.

Still have questions about Medicare?

Register for the free Understanding How Medicare Works seminar. This online webinar provides a step-by-step guide to take you through your enrollment options. Our Medicare specialists can answer any questions you have. This class is also available in Spanish. Please visit Entienda Cómo Funciona Medicare for more information.

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