Are you close to turning 65? If you or your family is hitting this milestone age soon, then it's time to take a look at Medicare. Do you know what it covers? Where the gaps in coverage are? When you are eligible to sign up? Enrolling in Medicare can be an overwhelming and confusing experience. Benefits may be different from those you had while you were under a private policy. There are numerous options from which to choose, some with specific timeframes of eligibility. As you work through this process, there are some things you should be aware of:
- Even if you are not taking your Social Security Benefits yet, you may still apply for Medicare benefits up to 3 months before your 65th birthday
- Medicare has four parts:
- Part A covers hospitalization, some inpatient care in skilled nursing facilities, hospice, and other inpatient needs.
- Part B is for medically necessary services, such as doctor's visits, labs, etc.
- Medicare Advantage (formerly known as Part C) is an alternative to parts A&B. Unlike traditional Medicare, you receive your care through an HMO, PPO or Private Fee-for-service plan.
- Part D is designed to assist with the cost of prescriptions for those who have original Medicare, but don't have prescription coverage from another source.
- Medicare Supplements, or "MediGap," policies are private polices that help pick up the gaps (ie. out-of-pocket expenses) that are your responsibility under Medicare. After you enroll in Medicare Part B, you have a limited open enrollment time when you are guaranteed acceptance into a Medicare Supplement Plan. There are some exceptions to this if you are covered under a group policy.
Confused? Many People Are. It can seem overwhelming when trying to plan your future coverage and sort through the many options, especially since the choices you make can have a significant effect on your health care and your financial well-being. Our Medicare Informer is one of a series of publications that can help you understand your options. Click Here to order your free copy.
If you have additional questions, or simply want a real life person to help walk through your individual situation, we are available to help.