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In addition to the end of summer, the arrival of fall signifies the start of open enrollment. As the leaves change, take time to consider any changes that should be made to your existing healthcare plans, including Medicare.

At Iowa Insurance Store, we understand the confusion surrounding the different types of Medicare Insurance. For those 65 years old and older, we are knowledgeable about the intricacies of Medicare, and can help clients make the right decision regarding coverage. We often match individuals in Iowa with the right plans for them.


When is Open Enrollment?

The formal enrollment period for Medicare begins October 15th and lasts until December 7th. Open enrollment is the time to make changes to your existing plan, or the time to consider Medicare Advantage and Part D coverage. The Medicare coverage you select during open enrollment will go into effect in the New Year.

We want to help you Break Down the different the Medicare Plans and Options in Plain English so you can understand how they benefit you and which one best serves you. With so many options and different coverage which ones do I need and which one is best for me?


  • Part A & Part B (Original Medicare)
  • Part C (Medicare Advantage vs Medicare Supplement)
  • Part D (Prescription Drugs)

Original Medicare

Administered by the federal government. "Original Medicare" is made up of Part A (hospital insurance) and Part B (medical insurance). Those with Original Medicare may opt to add additional benefits like Medigap coverage (Part C) as well as a prescription drug coverage (Part D).


Part C - Medicare Advantage or Medicare Supplement

Medicare beneficiaries may also choose Medicare Advantage or Medicare Supplement. Both offered by private insurance companies. A Medicare Advantage plan combines the benefits of Parts A, B and often Part D into one health plan. It may also offer additional benefits such as;
  • Prescription
  • Dental Care
  • Eye and Vision Care
  • Hearing Care
You will remain in Original even if you enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan. In some cases, the two plans essentially work together to determine which plan will pay for what costs. A Medicare Supplement plans also known as Medigap plans cover cost you might otherwise pay out-of-pocket when receiving care. They might cover:
  • Copays
  • Deductibles
  • Coinsurance cost
  • Cost of emergency medical care what you might receive when you travel abroad

With these plans, you do have more freedom to choose doctors because you are not tied to a certain doctor or certain network.


Part D

Prescription drug coverage, or Part D, is provided by private insurance companies and is considered supplemental to Original Medicare. There are many different drug plans to choose from, and each has its own list of covered prescriptions (also known as a formulary). Drug plans place drugs into "tiers" that determine how much you will pay.


Who is Qualified for these Plans?

Medicare Advantage

  • You must already have Medicare Part A & B
  • You generally cannot have End-stage Renal disease(though some insurers offer special needs Part C plans)
  • You must live in an area where the plan is offered.

Medicare Supplement Coverage

  • You must live in an area where plans are sold
  • You must already have a Medicare Part A & B
  • Most insurers will not sell Medicare Supplement coverage to those under age 65

Please Note: You can generally have both a Medicare Advantage and Medicare Supplement plan at the same time.


Enrolling in Coverage

Most people enroll in Medicare Advantage and Medicare Supplement and Prescription coverage around the time they enroll in Original Medicare.


Medicare Advantage

Turning 65 when you're first eligible?

What can I do? - Sign up for a Medicare Advantage Plan and/or a Medicare Prescription Drug Plan.


During the 7-month period that:

  • Starts 3 months before the month you turn 65
  • Includes the month you turn 65
  • Ends 3 months after the month you turn 65

If you join

Your coverage begins

During one of the 3 months before you turn 65

The first day of the month you turn 65

During the month you turn 65

The first day of the month after you ask to join the plan

During one of the 3 months after you turn 65

The first day of the month after you ask to join the plan

Medicare Annual Election Period - You can enroll during this time which runs from October 15th to December 7th of each year. You can make changes to your plan during this time.

Open Enrollment period - Runs from January 1st to March 31st. During this time, only those who already carry part C coverage can switch plans or drop coverage.


Medicare Supplement

Turning 65 when you're first eligible?

The best time to buy a Medigap policy is during your 6-month Medigap open enrollment period. During that time you can buy any Medigap policy sold in your state, even if you have health problems. This period automatically starts the month you're 65 and enrolled in Medicare Part B (Medical Insurance). After this enrollment period, you may not be able to buy a Medigap policy. If you're able to buy one, it may cost more.


During Open enrollment - Medigap insurance companies are generally allowed to use medical underwriting to decide whether to accept your application and how much to charge you for the Medigap policy. However, even if you have health problems, during your Medigap open enrollment period you can buy any policy the company sells for the same price as people with good health.

Outside open enrollment - If you apply for Medigap coverage after your open enrollment period, there's no guarantee that an insurance company will sell you a Medigap policy if you don’t meet the medical underwriting requirements, unless you're eligible due to one of the situations below.

In some states, you may be able to buy another type of Medigap policy called Medicare SELECT.  If you buy a Medicare SELECT policy, you have rights to change your mind within 12 months and switch to a standard Medigap policy.


What are the Costs for Part C?

Medicare Advantage:

  • Will have their own deductibles, coinsurance, Max Out-of-pocket and copayments.
  • Policies usually have provider networks. To receive covered care, you will need to see providers within this network. If you go outside of network you will have another Max Out-of-Pocket and possible higher copayments.
  • You will still have to pay your Original Medicare Part B premium.

Medicare Supplement/Medigap Plans:

  • Plans don’t have networks themselves. However, you must see a provider who accepts Original Medicare to receive covered care.
  • Will have their own premiums
  • Will not cover Original Medicare Part B premiums
  • You’ll probably still pay a few costs for various procedures based on the plan you choose.


  Want to Learn More about Medicare Coverage? 

Download our Medicare Documents!


Medicare Part A

Information from

Medicare Part B

Information from

Medicare Part C

Information from Ben Grier, CEPF

Medicare Part D

Information from



Knowledgeable Agents Are Available to Review Your Medicare Options

Whether making a switch or enrolling for the first time, let us guide you through the process. Please contact us at 515-964-2927 or  Request a Medicare Quote today!

Proudly Insuring: Altoona, Ankeny, Clive, Des Moines, Grimes, Johnston, Pleasant Hill, Urbandale, Waukee, West Des Moines, Windsor Heights, Ames, Bettendorf, Cedar Rapids, Centerville, Council Bluff, Davenport, Fort Dodge, Iowa City, Indianola, Knoxville, Marshalltown, Monroe, Oskaloosa, Osceola, Otummwa, Pella, Pleasantville, Waterlook and Webster City