Attention Seniors: Take the Headache Out of Medicare

Health insurance is one of those things that you just have to have.

It’s important during every stage of life but even more so when you’re a senior citizen and your health needs can change quickly.

As you near age 65, make sure that you’re taking full advantage of Medicare.

Don’t forget that you can change your plan after you’ve turned 65 during the Annual Election Period.

Here’s the information you need about Medicare and the options that are available to you.

When to enroll

There are actually three time periods throughout the year when you’re eligible to sign up for Medicare.

    • Initial enrollment period. The first time you sign up for Medicare, it will probably be during this time frame. It begins three months before your 65th birthday runs throughout the month of your birthday and continues for three months after your birth month. This is the time you want to enroll because you won’t have to answer any questions about your health.

 

  • General enrollment period. If the initial enrollment period passes you by or if you need to change plans, you can do either during this period, which is from October 15 to December 7.
  • Special enrollment. If you meet certain requirements, you’re able to enroll in Medicare at any time throughout the year.

 

The Parts of Medicare

One of the most confusing parts of Medicare for most people is distinguishing between the various parts. Here’s a little help.

 

There are two parts to Original Medicare.

 

  • Part A is for inpatient or critical hospital care, nursing homes, home health care and hospice.
  • Part B is medical insurance that also covers preventive care.

Supplemental insurance

You can expect that your Medicare coverage will be adequate for approximately 80 percent of the cost of your healthcare services. The other 20 percent has to come from your pocket.

Original Medicare also doesn’t cover prescriptions, so that will be your responsibility, as well.

Because of these factors, you may want to purchase a supplemental plan.

Here are your options.

    • Medicare Part C (Medicare Advantage) combines Parts A and B and, though they are Medicare-approved, they have to be purchased through a private insurer.
    • Medigap is to cover the out of pocket expenses that Medicare Parts A and B don’t cover. This type of coverage offers different coverage options.

 

  • Medicare Part D is a standalone prescription plan. There are different pricing and coverage options from which you can choose.

 

See your physician

Make sure you talk to your regular doctor before you choose a Medicare plan. If you don’t and choose a plan he or she doesn’t accept, you may need to find a new doctor.

Evaluate your Medicare plan each year

Healthcare plans change from year to year, besides the fact that the status of your health can change rapidly, too.

Going over your plan with a professional every year will ensure that you’re getting the best coverage at the most affordable cost.

It’s always a good idea to seek the help of an expert when you’re reviewing your plan. It can be confusing and choosing to work with a qualified insurance agent can make all the difference.

The bottom line

The choices that you make about your healthcare are important and have big consequences. It’s up to you to make sure your questions are answered and you have the coverage you need.

Does understanding Medicare a little bit better give you more confidence about making choices for your future?

Protect Your Family

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *