Medicare in Maryland
This article was updated on: 09/16/2018
Medicare beneficiaries in Maryland may enroll in Original Medicare, Part A and Part B, as in other states. In fact, most Maryland residents are automatically enrolled in Original Medicare when they turn 65 if they’re already receiving retirement benefits. They can also be automatically enrolled at any age if they receive disability benefits for 24 consecutive months or if they have amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (in which case, they’d be automatically enrolled in the first month that disability benefits start).
Since Original Medicare doesn’t include prescription drug benefits, you can add a Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Plan. This coverage is optional, but if you don’t get prescription drug coverage when you’re first eligible for Medicare and then decide you want it later, you may have to pay a late enrollment penalty.
You may also choose to add Medicare Supplement insurance to your Original Medicare coverage. Also known as Medigap, this insurance can cover some out-of-pocket costs associated with Original Medicare, like deductibles and copayments. Some plans may also help with costs that Original Medicare doesn’t cover, such as Medicare Part B excess charges or emergency health coverage when you’re out of the country.
Alternatively, you may decide to receive all of your benefits through a Medicare Advantage plan, which covers everything that Original Medicare does (excluding hospice care), and may include additional benefits such as routine vision, hearing, routine dental, and prescription drug coverage. Plans that cover prescription drugs are called Medicare Advantage Prescription Drug plans and cover Medicare health and prescription drug benefits under a single plan.
Types of Medicare coverage in Maryland
- Original Medicare, Part A and Part B, is administered by the federal government. Medicare Part A provides inpatient hospital care while Medicare Part B covers benefits like (but not limited to) physician visits, preventive care and medically necessary durable medical equipment.
- Medicare Advantage plans, Part C, are offered by private insurance companies that have a contract with Medicare. Medicare Advantage plan details and pricing may vary not only by plan, but also by location.
- Medicare Part D is prescription drug coverage. You can add Medicare Part D through stand-alone Medicare Prescription Drug Plans, which work alongside Original Medicare, Part A and/or Part B, and are available through Medicare-approved private insurance companies. This coverage is also available as part of your Medicare Advantage plan if you enroll in a Medicare Advantage Prescription Drug plan. As with any type of Medicare insurance, not every plan may be available in each county.
- Medicare Supplement insurance, also called Medigap, covers “gaps” left behind by Original Medicare coverage: deductibles, copayments, coinsurance, and foreign travel health coverage. Most states, Maryland included, offer 10 standardized Medigap policy options, each labeled with a letter. All plans of the same letter offer the same benefits, no matter where they’re purchased.
Local resources for Medicare in Maryland
- Medicare Savings Programs in Maryland: Medicare beneficiaries in Maryland with limited incomes can apply for programs that help pay for some or all of their Medicare out-of-pocket expenses, such as copayments, premiums, and deductibles.
- Maryland State Health Insurance Counseling and Assistance Program (SHIP): The Senior Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP) is a free service that helps seniors understand their health insurance benefits.
How to apply for Medicare in Maryland
To qualify for Medicare, you must be either a United States citizen or a legal permanent resident of at least five continuous years.
In Maryland, as in other states, you’re enrolled in Original Medicare, Part A and Part B, automatically if you receive benefits through either the Social Security Administration or the Railroad Retirement Board. You are eligible to enroll before age 65 if you have certain qualifying disabilities and will be enrolled once you have received Social Security disability benefits, or certain Railroad Retirement benefits, for more than 24 consecutive months. You can also be automatically enrolled in the first month of receiving disability benefits if you have amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS, or Lou Gehrig’s disease).
If you don’t meet any of the criteria above, or if you have end-stage renal disease (ESRD), then you need to enroll manually by visiting your local Social Security office, enrolling online, or signing up over the phone.
- Visit the Social Security website.
- Call Social Security at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY users should call 1-800-325-0778), Monday through Friday, 7AM to 7PM.
- Apply in person at a Social Security office.
- If you worked for a railroad, call the RRB at 1-877-772-5772 (TTY users call 312-751-4701), Monday through Friday, 9AM to 3:30PM.
When looking to enroll in a Medicare Advantage, Medicare Prescription Drug Plan, or Medigap plan, you may apply by contacting the plan directly, or by calling 1-800-MEDICARE (TTY users call 1-877-486-2048), 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Or, you can contact me; I can help you find a plan that may fit your personal circumstances.
- To view my profile, click the “View profile” link beneath my photo.
- To set up a phone call or request Medicare plan information by email, just follow the links below.
- To review Medicare plan options on your own, you can click on the Compare Plans option anytime it’s convenient for you.