As you approach your 65th birthday, you’re likely brimming with questions about your transition to Medicare.
Although enrollment is simple, understanding all the different Medicare components can seem like an uphill battle. It might seem tempting to delay the process, but it’s in your best interest to complete it as soon as possible.
The sooner you decide, the sooner you can start enjoying Medicare and avoid the delayed enrollment surcharges. Remember, you’ve been paying into your Medicare fund your entire working life – it’s time for you to reap the benefits!
Colorado Medicare Insurance Trends
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) reported the following information on 2023 Medicare trends in Colorado:
- There were 976,263 Medicare recipients in Colorado.
- The average Medicare Advantage monthly premium decreased in Colorado from $14.52 in 2022 to $13.71 in 2023.
- In 2022, Colorado Medicare recipients can choose from 100 Medicare Advantage plans.
- Approximately 99% of Colorado residents with Medicare can purchase a Medicare Advantage plan, including those with $0 premiums.
- In Colorado, 23 stand-alone Medicare prescription drug plans are available in 2023.
- The lowest monthly premium for a prescription drug plan is $3.50.
Medicare Offered in Colorado
Medicare is a government-sponsored health care program that offers financial assistance to Americans ages 65 and older or those with disabilities.
Original Medicare is comprised of two parts: Medicare Part A and Medicare Part B. Medicare Part A covers inpatient care and other hospital services, while Medicare Part B covers medically necessary treatments such as chemotherapy, supplies, emergency ambulance transportation and most laboratory testings.
Medicare Part A typically does not require the payment of a premium, though there are exceptions. Medicare Part B ordinarily requires a premium, but this depends on the beneficiary’s annual income.
Both Part A and Part B also require recipients to cover out-of-pocket expenses such as deductibles, copays, and coinsurance costs.
An alternative to Original Medicare is Medicare Advantage. Medicare Advantage plans combine Original Medicare, supplemental coverage, and prescription drug plans into an easy, single package.
Even more appealing is that many Medicare Advantage plans in Colorado include other services, such as vision and dental.
Unlike Original Medicare, Medicare Advantage plans are provided by private insurance companies. Colorado residents have many different plan providers to choose from.
Colorado Medicare Advantage options include plans from the following private insurance companies:
- Aetna Medicare
- Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield
- Bright Health
- Clear Spring Health
- Denver Health Medical Plan, Inc.
- Kaiser Permanente
Medicare Supplement Plans
Medicare supplement plans (also known as Medigap plans) cover some out-of-pocket costs associated with Original Medicare (Medicare Part A and Part B).
Original Medicare expenses, such as copayments, deductibles, and coinsurance, can quickly accumulate, and many beneficiaries use Medigap plans to minimize them. Each Medigap plan has different coverage levels, and some offer coverage for specific medical services too.
Medigap plans can be acquired at any time of the year, but you cannot be declined coverage by an insurer during your one-time enrollment period, a six-month window that begins when your Medicare Part B is effective.
Colorado Supplement options include plans from the following private insurance companies:
- AARP – UnitedHealthcare
- Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield – Colorado
- Colonial Penn
- Garden State
- State Farm
Colorado Medicare Enrollment
Colorado citizens are eligible for Medicare if they are U.S. citizens above 65 years old or are under 65 but are permanently disabled, have end-stage renal disease, or Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis. Use Medicare’s online eligibility tool if you are unsure if you qualify.
- You are 65 or older, and you or your spouse worked and paid Medicare taxes for at least 40 quarters.
- You are under age 65 and collect benefits from Social Security or the Railroad Retirement Board for at least 24 consecutive months.
- You have ESRD or ALS.
Enrollment Period Dates
Initial Enrollment Period
This is a seven-month window that allows you to sign up for a plan
- Begins 3 months before the month you turn 65
- Ends 3 months after the month you turn 65
Medicare Open Enrollment Period
This is when you can sign up for a plan, switch a plan or leave a plan
- Begins Starts October 15th
- Ends December 7th
Special Enrollment Period
Special enrollment periods allow you to enroll outside the regular enrollment periods under specific circumstances.
General Enrollment Period
This is when you can sign up for Medicare Part A and/or Part B if you didn’t sign up when first eligible or if you’re not qualified for a Special Enrollment Period.
- Starts January 1st
- Ends March 31st
Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period
This is when you can switch or leave a Medicare Advantage Plan
- Starts January 1st
- Ends March 31st
Colorado Enrollment Tips & Advice
The first step to finding the best Medicare coverage for you is reading reviews of several carriers and analyzing the costs. It would be best to compare plans by looking at deductibles, drug coverage or copays, and premium rates, among other things like copayments, coinsurance etc.
- State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP)
- Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies
- Old Age Pension Health and Medical Care Program (OAP)
- Prescription drug discount resources
- Railroad Retirement Board
How Do I Enroll in a Medicare Plan?
If you have any questions about your Colorado Medicare options, speak to one of our licensed agents. Our dedicated team will help find a Medicare plan that works for you.