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Turning 65 or New to Medicare?
Knowing you've got the most trusted coverage during the moments that matter most. That's Medicare that cares back. Answer a few questions to get started with your Medicare timeline.
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Turning 65 or New to Medicare?
Start Your Medicare Timeline
Knowing you've got the most trusted coverage during the moments that matter most. That's Medicare that cares back. 
General Medicare Timeline

Let's get started! Take these important steps to learn about Medicare and see what you have to do now to prepare for enrollment.

7-9 MONTHS to turning 65:
• Watch our Medicare Minute Video series and get answers to the most common questions we hear about Medicare.
 Review your current health care coverage to see what options you have after you turn 65. Also, consider your travel habits, prescription drug needs, and calculate your annual health care budget.
3 MONTHS to turning 65:
• Complete your enrollment during your Initial Enrollment Period. You have from 3 months before you turn 65 to 3 months after your birthday month to enroll.
Your Initial Enrollment Period starts 3 months prior to your 65th birthday, through 3 months after your birthday month concludes.
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Did you know you can make a one-time switch into a Medicare Plan at any time during the year? Find your plan below!
Let's get started! We're here to help you feel confident every step of the way. Choose to enroll online, request an enrollment kit by mail, or talk to one of our local enrollment experts.
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Helping a loved one with Medicare

We're here to support you as you help your loved ones make the move to Medicare. Whether it’s their first time enrolling or they are shopping for a new plan, we offer resources for simplify the process and guide you along the way.
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A Veteran

With a Medicare Advantage plan from Excellus BlueCross BlueShield, you’ll get coverage that was specifically created to work with and compliment your existing Veteran’s Affairs (VA) benefits. Plans with dental coverage, over-the-counter allowance, and transportation are available at no additional cost to you. To learn more or request a Medicare Advantage product brochure for veterans, please call 1-877-883-9577 (TTY 711).).

A Medicare Broker

When trusted local agents partner with a health plan backed by 90 years of strength and stability, Everybody Benefits.

Learn More About the Enhanced Plans Available to You for 2024
Understand your options, learn more about your coverage, watch a Medicare plan highlight video, and set up a 1-on-1 appointment with a Medicare expert to get your questions answered.
Frequently Asked Questions and Helpful Resources
Excellus BCBS Member Benefits and Details

How do I help a loved one find the right Medicare plan?

Helping a friend or family member as they navigate Medicare enrollment or switch plans can be overwhelming. Here are some resources to simplify the process and guide you along the way.

  • Start by learning the basics. Our Medicare Minute Videos answer the most common Medicare questions in under a minute. Next, you can learn more about specific plan options available to your loved one by watching our Medicare Highlight Videos.
  • To help your loved one choose the best plan for them, you’ll need to know the answers to a few important questions. Share this questionnaire with your loved one or sit down and go through it together. The answers will help you compare plan benefits and determine the amount of coverage they’ll need.
  • If you’re a caregiver for a loved one, we have resources that can support you. Visit our Caregiver Support page or learn more about Advance Care Planning.
  • When it comes to Medicare, sometimes you need to talk to someone face-to-face. Our local experts can guide you through the Medicare basics and answer any questions you have.

Are my prescription drugs covered?

$0 Tier 1 generic drugs are available on most Excellus BCBS Medicare plans, including more than 50 frequently prescribed medications. To find out how your prescriptions are covered, check our comprehensive list of covered prescription drugs (also known as the “formulary”).

When Can I Enroll In Medicare?

Turning 65
If you're turning 65, you can enroll in Medicare from the period that extends 3 months before to 3 months after the month of your 65th birthday. For example, if you turn 65 on July 4, you can enroll anytime between April 1 and October 31.
Your Initial Enrollment Period starts 3 months prior to your 65th birthday, through 3 months after your birthday month concludes.

Watch our Medicare Minute Videos to learn more about initial enrollment and working past 65.

Once you’re enrolled in Medicare, you can change your Medicare coverage during the Annual Election Period from October 15 to December 7. If you enroll during AEP, your coverage will begin January 1st of the following year.

You may be able to join or switch plans under special circumstances that grant a Special Election Period. View our Medicare Advantage Timeline to learn more.

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Is dental coverage included?

Yes! All Excellus BCBS Medicare plans include preventive and comprehensive dental coverage at no cost. This benefit covers 100% of preventive dental services, like cleanings, x-rays, and bitewings, as well as more extensive services like restorative care or major procedures up to a $1,000 annual allowance.

Select plans also offer a $500 flex card to use toward out-of-pocket dental, hearing, or vision expenses. Find your Medicare Plan to learn about the other benefits available to you, such as over-the-counter allowances and Silver&Fit®

What does the Star Plan Rating mean?

Each year, Medicare plans earn ratings on a one-to-five scale, with one star representing poor performance and five stars representing the highest quality rating a health plan can earn. Star Ratings are released annually and are based on member satisfaction, plan details, and overall performance.

The Star Rating is based on information collected from actual members like you, clinicians, and Medicare’s comprehensive monitoring process. Our Star Rating is a testament to how hard we work to help support your health and wellness. Our preventive health screenings, dedicated Medicare-only customer service department, and numerous health and wellness programs are just some ways in which we go above and beyond.

Need Help?

1-877-406-4823 (TTY: 711), Open 7 days a week, 8 a.m. - 8 p.m.*

To chat with a licensed agent, click the blue chat box on the screen. 

Chat is available from Mon. - Thurs. from 8 a.m. – 8 p.m., and Fri. 9 a.m. - 8 p.m.

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*From now until March 31. From April 1 to September 30, representatives are available Monday-Friday from 8 a.m. - 8 p.m. (TTY: 711).

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Copyright © 2024 Excellus BlueCross BlueShield, a nonprofit independent licensee of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association. All rights reserved.

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Excellus BlueCross BlueShield is an HMO plan and PPO plan with a Medicare contract. Enrollment in Excellus BlueCross BlueShield depends on contract renewal.
Submit a complaint about your Medicare plan at www.Medicare.gov or learn about filing a complaint by contacting the Medicare Ombudsman

Date Last Updated 12/01/2023