Medicare 101

Aetna Medicare Advantage

Learn more about Medicare

The IAFF Financial Corporation (IAFF-FC) understands that Medicare can be confusing, so we’re here to help. We’ve included some frequently asked questions below.

You become eligible for Medicare when you turn 65 or earlier because of certain health conditions.
You can enroll online at or in person at your local Social Security office.

You can sign up for Medicare during the three months before your 65th birthday month. The window to enroll in Medicare closes three months after your birth month. If you enroll after that, you may face a late enrollment penalty. For example, if you turn 65 in May, you can sign up for Medicare starting in February and ending in August. We recommend signing up for Medicare as early as you can to ensure you don’t have any gaps in coverage.

You can sign up for a Medicare insurance plan as soon as you have enrolled in Original Medicare and receive your Medicare beneficiary number. Your insurance coverage will start the first day of your birth month. For example, if you turn 65 on May 15, your plan coverage would start May 1.

Part A covers hospital care, Part B covers doctor services, Part C refers to Medicare Advantage plans, and Part D covers prescription drugs.

These plans (called Part C) are offered through private insurers, and they combine everything covered under Part A and Part B, and sometimes Part D, into one plan. Plus, these plans often include additional benefits and programs not covered under Original Medicare.

Yes, if you want to have services such as primary care visits and lab tests covered. To be eligible for a Medicare Advantage plan, you must enroll in Medicare Part A and Part B and pay your Part B monthly premiums.

For more information, go to We have helpful videos about enrolling in Medicare and the plan options available to you. Or visit for general Medicare information.

The IAFF-FC is offering four group Aetna Medicare Advantage PPO plans to Medicare-eligible retired IAFF fire fighters and their spouses. These custom plans are currently for people who purchase their own insurance and don’t have a bargained benefit through their former employer or union.

For those with bargained benefits, we’re working with groups across the country to see if we can add these plans to their offerings. Check with your former employer or union to see if an Aetna plan might be an option for you.

Group Preferred Provider Organization (PPO) plans allow you more freedom than an HMO plan, so you can use the doctors and hospitals you want. The four IAFF-FC Aetna Medicare Advantage PPO plan options we’re offering allow you to see any licensed provider who is eligible to receive Medicare payment and willing to accept your Aetna plan. Aetna has a large, nationwide network of providers, but you’ll pay the same cost whether your doctor is in or out of network.

Yes, the IAFF-FC Aetna plans include extra benefits and programs not offered by Original Medicare, such as vision and hearing aid reimbursements, the SilverSneakers® fitness program, [virtual behavioral health coaching], a referral service to help you find local resources, a 24-hour nurse line and other care and wellness programs to help keep you healthy.

Yes, you can disenroll anytime from your group Aetna Medicare Advantage PPO plan. You will still maintain your eligibility for Original Medicare and can go back to it at any time. However, be aware that any cost share amounts you paid with Aetna, such as deductibles or copayments, will not carry over.

If you’re already on a Medicare plan, you can enroll in the fall during Open Enrollment. [The Open Enrollment window for this year is August 17 to December 4, 2020.] If you’re just becoming eligible for Medicare, you can sign up for an IAFF-FC Aetna Medicare Advantage plan throughout the year. Just be sure you’ve already enrolled in Medicare Part A and Part B.

Yes. Depending on how your health needs change, you can choose a different IAFF-FC Aetna plan during a future fall Open Enrollment time.

For more information or to enroll in an Aetna Medicare Advantage plan, go to or call Aetna at 1-866-246-8039 (TTY: 711), Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m.- 6:00 p.m. (all time zones).