As you get closer to retirement age, you may start thinking about your health insurance needs after retirement. You may be interested in learning more about Original Medicare and alternative ways that you may receive Medicare benefits from private insurance companies contracted with Medicare and who offer Medicare plans in New Hampshire.

Original Medicare for New Hampshire beneficiaries

Original Medicare encompasses Medicare Part A (hospital insurance) and Medicare Part B (medical insurance). Medicare Part A is usually premium-free for people who receive Social Security benefits. However, some individuals may have to pay a monthly premium because they (or their spouses) did not pay at least 10 years (40 quarters) of Medicare taxes before they retired.

Medicare Part A benefits include, but are not limited to, the following health services:

  • Hospital care
  • Skilled nursing facility care
  • Nursing home care
  • Hospice care
  • Home health services

Original Medicare Part B covers medical services. As in other states, most Medicare beneficiaries have to pay a Medicare Part B monthly premium. Under Medicare Part B beneficiaries receive, among others benefits, the following covered services and supplies:

  • Doctor visits, including preventive care
  • Outpatient hospital services (such as outpatient surgery)
  • Laboratory services
  • Radiological services (such as x-ray)
  • Ambulance services
  • Durable medical equipment
  • Mental health services
  • Limited outpatient prescription drugs that require administration by a doctor

You are eligible for Medicare in New Hampshire if:

  • You’re age 65 or older.
  • You’re a US citizen or legal permanent resident of at least five continuous years.
  • You receive disability benefits, have end-stage renal disease, or have amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS or Lou Gehrig’s disease). Disabled individuals can get Medicare regardless of age, if they’re collecting disability benefits from the Social Security Administration (SSA) or the Railroad Retirement Board for 25 continuous months.

In New Hampshire as in other states, you can apply for Medicare through the Social Security Administration (SSA). If you are applying for retirement benefits, you can enroll in Medicare at the same time. You can apply:

  • Online at the Social Security website. Individuals applying for Medicare only (and not SSA benefits as well) can use this application.
  • By calling Social Security at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY users 1-800-325-0778). SSA representatives can be reached Monday through Friday, from 7AM to 7PM.
  • In person at a local Social Security office. To find office locations in New Hampshire, click here.

You may enroll in Original Medicare, Part A and/or Part B, during the following enrollment periods:

  • Initial Enrollment Period: This is the seven- month period that begins three months before you turn 65, includes your birthday month, and ends three months after that month.
  • General Enrollment Period: This period runs annually from January 1 to March 31, and the effective date of your coverage would be July 1. However, if you miss your Initial Enrollment Period and enroll later, you may have to pay a late-enrollment penalty in the form of higher monthly premiums.
  • Special Enrollment Period: If you delayed your enrollment in Medicare Part A and/or Medicare Part B because you had coverage through an employer, you may sign up for Medicare during a Special Enrollment Period. You may not have to pay a penalty if you sign up for Original Medicare during a Special Enrollment Period.

Medicare plan options in New Hampshire

You can also choose to receive your Medicare benefits through Medicare Advantage (Medicare Part C), which is private insurance. In New Hampshire and throughout the U.S., Medicare Advantage plans are required by the government to offer at least the same coverage as Original Medicare, Part A and Part B (except hospice care, which remains covered by Medicare Part A). Many Medicare Advantage plans offer extra coverage not available from Original Medicare, such as routine hearing exams and hearing aids, routine vision care and eye ware, and/or dental coverage. You may want to  compare all Medicare Advantage plans available where you live in New Hampshire to select the one that includes the benefits you need.  To find out more about these plans, click Medicare Advantage plans in New Hampshire.

Medicare Advantage Prescription Drug plans combine health and prescription drug coverage into a single plan, and they’re also available to Medicare beneficiaries in New Hampshire. But remember that even if you enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan or a Medicare Advantage Prescription Drug plan, you have Original Medicare and continue paying the Medicare Part B premium in order to maintain your health insurance coverage.

If you’re enrolled in Original Medicare, Part A and/or Part B, you may also enroll in a stand-alone Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Plan. Costs for Medicare Part D in New Hampshire vary and depend on the extent of the coverage you select. Learn about Medicare Part D plans in New Hampshire.

If you decide to stay with Original Medicare (Part A and Part B), another option you may have is to sign up for a Medicare Supplement (Medigap) plan to help pay for Original Medicare’s out-of-pocket costs. Different Medigap plans pay for different amounts of those costs, such as copayments, coinsurance, and deductibles. For more information, see Medigap plans in New Hampshire.

Medicare beneficiaries in New Hampshire have access to various private health plans, depending on the county in which they live. For example, a resident of Manchester in Hillsborough County may have different Medicare plan offerings than a resident of Windham in Rockingham County. The various Medicare insurance plans available in New Hampshire allow you to customize your search for plans based on your own health and prescription needs.

New Hampshire resources for Medicare beneficiaries

There are a number of resources designed to help Medicare beneficiaries in New Hampshire with Medicare-related issues and concerns. Here are some of the resources that may be helpful to you:

  • American Cancer Society
  • American Heart Association
  • State Health Departments

The product and service descriptions, if any, provided on these PlanPrescriber Web pages are not intended to constitute offers to sell or solicitations in connection with any product or service. All products are not available in all areas and are subject to applicable laws, rules, and regulations.