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What you need to know about Medicare enrollment

Stay in-the-know when it comes to Medicare, retirement and how to successfully manage your funds so that you’re preparing for your financial future ahead.

Charlotte MacBeth, CEO of UnitedHealthcare Medicare & Retirement in Indiana, answers some of our questions:

  1. What is National Medicare Education Week?
  • National Medicare Education Week is an official week dedicated to helping people learn more about Medicare.
  • It begins Sept. 15, exactly one month before the start of the Open Enrollment Period (Oct. 15-Dec. 7), when Medicare beneficiaries can make changes to their coverage.
  • National Medicare Education Week offers in-person educational events nationwide and other resources to help Medicare beneficiaries get their questions answered so they can feel confident making Medicare coverage decisions.
  1. How can seniors and baby boomers in Indianapolis participate?
  • People in the Indianapolis area can attend a local educational event, and they can access resources at

    • CICOA Aging & In-Home Solutions is hosting an event on September 15 in Danville, two events on September 18 – one in in Mooresville and one in Indianapolis – and an event on September 20 in Greenwood.
  • Ninety-nine percent of our National Medicare Education Week event attendees last year said that their understanding of Medicare improved as a result of attending the event.
  • People can also learn about Medicare online during National Medicare Education Week – and all year long – at
  1. Explain the different “parts” of Medicare… Part A, Part B…
  • Medicare has four main parts – A, B, C and D.

    • Original Medicare includes Parts A and B.
    • Part A provides coverage of in-patient care in hospitals and skilled nursing facilities, as well as hospice care and some home health care.
    • Part B provides coverage of the costs of doctor visits, outpatient hospital services, some home health services and durable medical equipment. It also covers some preventive health care.
  • Part C, also known as Medicare Advantage, is an option for Medicare coverage that combines Original Medicare Parts A and B into one plan offered by private health insurers.
  • Medicare Advantage plans often also include prescription drug coverage and other additional benefits not included with Original Medicare.
  • Part D helps with the cost of prescription drugs.
  • There’s also what’s known as Medicare supplement These plans help cover some of what Medicare Parts A and B don’t pay, such as portions of coinsurance, copayments and deductibles.
  1. When can people enroll in a Medicare plan?
  • Timing is everything, and a lot depends on your specific situation.
  • You have a seven month window around your 65th birthday to enroll. It includes your birthday month plus the three months before and the three months after. It’s best to sign up early to avoid gaps in coverage and late enrollment penalties.

  • For people already enrolled in Medicare, Open Enrollment runs from Oct. 15 to Dec. 7, and it is the one time a year to make changes to your plan or enroll in a new plan.

  • If you have a qualifying life event, like a move, you can get a special enrollment period to switch plans during the year.

  • Most people eligible for both Medicare and Medicaid are able to switch plans throughout the year as well.
  1. Why did UnitedHealthcare create National Medicare Education Week?
  • UnitedHealthcare created National Medicare Education Week because the number of people in need of clear information about Medicare is growing, and we know that Medicare can be confusing.
  • More than 58 million Americans are enrolled in Medicare, and the Medicare-eligible population is skyrocketing as baby boomers age into the program at a rate of 11,000 every day.
  • According to a UnitedHealthcare survey, more than 1 in 5 beneficiaries describes Medicare as “confusing,” and 70 percent of people approaching Medicare eligibility say they have a “fair” or “poor” understanding of the program.
  1. Where can people go if they are looking for more information?
  • If you want to learn more about National Medicare Education Week and explore events in your area, visit
  • For more information about Medicare:
  • Visit, or call 1-800-MEDICARE (TTY users should call 1-877-486-2048).