Each year in September, Medicare mails its official Medicare & You Handbook to all Medicare beneficiaries. The Handbook is a helpful, easy-to-understand guide that covers the basics of Medicare, shares what’s new and important for the upcoming year, and provides answers to frequently-asked questions.
If you didn’t receive your copy, or want to request another one, you can request a print copy by calling 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227).
The Handbook is also available in a variety of formats. You can download it as a PDF in English, Spanish, Chinese, Korean, or Vietnamese. It is available in large print, braille, e-book format, and audio CD.
Highlights of the 2023 Handbook
The 2023 Handbook begins with What’s New and Important. Some important updates for 2023 are:
- COVID-19 – Medicare continues to cover COVID-19 vaccines, tests, and booster shots for those who are eligible.
- New start dates for Medicare coverage – Beginning January 1, 2023, when beneficiaries enroll in Medicare during their Initial Enrollment Period when turning 65 or during the General Enrollment Period, coverage begins the first day of the month after they sign up. The new rule reduces potential gaps in coverage that may have previously occurred between signing up and the start of Medicare coverage.
- Kidney transplant and immunosuppressive drug coverage – A new Medicare benefit will continue to pay for immunosuppressive drugs beyond 36 months after a kidney transplant if you have no other coverage.
Topics by Section
The Handbook is split into clear sections, starting with a general Table of Contents which appears on page 3. A more detailed Index of Topics on pages 4 and 5 makes it easy to search for specific topics. This is followed by a high-level look at the different parts of Medicare, including Parts A, B, and D, Medicare Advantage vs. Original Medicare, and Medicare Supplement Plans along with important enrollment periods.
An in-depth breakdown of Medicare is provided to you in the following sections:
Section 1: Signing up for Medicare
Find out when to sign up for Parts A and B, and what to do if you are still working, have other insurance, or are covered by COBRA. Costs for Parts A and B as well as late enrollment penalties.
Section 2: What Medicare covers
This section provides a detailed look at what benefits and services Medicare covers as well as what it does not cover and what you will pay.
Section 3: Original Medicare
Learn how Original Medicare works if you choose not to enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan, including what it covers and what your out-of-pocket costs will be.
Section 4: Medicare Advantage Plans & other options
This section reviews the different types of Medicare Advantage plans (HMO, PPO, POS, SNP), what they cover, out-of-pocket costs, and when you can join/drop/switch plans.
Section 5: Medicare Supplement Insurance (Medigap)
Learn how Medigap plans work, the plans available, what each plan covers, and the best time to enroll.
Section 6: Medicare drug coverage (Part D)
This section covers how to sign up for Part D drug coverage, what it covers, what it costs, and when to join/drop/switch plans.
Section 7: Get help paying your health & drug costs
If you have limited income and resources, there are programs to help you, such as Extra Help, Medicare Savings Programs, Medicaid, and Pharmacy Assistance Programs.
Section 8: Your Medicare rights & protections
Get important information on your rights, how to file an appeal, privacy practices, and how to protect yourself from identity theft and fraud.
Section 9: Get more information
Here’s where you’ll find additional information, such as how to receive more personalized help from Medicare, request a new ID card, create an online Medicare account, and find additional information online.
Section 10: Definitions
Get helpful definitions for the terminology used in the Handbook.
Section 11: Compare health & drug plans in your area
Want to see specific health plans in your area and their costs? Medicare’s plan finder tool lets you search and compare plans in your ZIP code. A licensed agent with Medicare Educators can also guide you through this process.
Whether you are already enrolled in Medicare or will be enrolling soon, Medicare Educators can help you understand your options to ensure you have the right coverage. Contact us today.