James is a 62-year-old man who has finally decided to sign up for Medicare. He was confused by the process and tried to sign up online, but he couldn’t understand all the medical terms used on the site. He called Medicare, but the person he talked to wasn’t easy to understand either. James wants to know how to get the best deal on Medicare.
Similarly, many of us are having difficulty enrolling in it. So to help you sign up for Medicare, here are some things you should know ahead of time.
If the thought of enrolling in Medicare makes you anxious, you’re not alone. Medicare is a massive and incredibly important healthcare program that more than 40 million Americans are enrolled in. But, unfortunately, with so many people relying on this government-backed benefit for their long-term care needs, there has been an incredible amount of confusion surrounding Medicare.
That’s why we have shared a few things that you need to know before enrolling in Medicare.
1. Consider Medicare Advantage
Medicare Advantage has an all-in-one plan that includes most Medicare services and prescription drug coverage for seniors. It’s also important to know about this option so you can make thoughtful decisions on how to use these benefits best.
The White House has repeatedly pledged to make drastic changes to Medicare, including limiting the types of covered treatments and how quickly increases in spending can occur. In addition, the team is looking more closely at all-in-one plans, where an insurer covers several health care services at once.
All-in-one plans (whether they are called Medicare Advantage or Medicare Part C) are already getting used by 25 million Americans.
2. Fill the Medicare Gaps With a Medigap Plan
Are you worried about the cost of your medications or other basic healthcare expenses?
If you cannot afford them, Medicare may cover most of these costs. But there are gaps in Medicare coverage that can leave you facing significant out-of-pocket expenses.
A Medigap plan fills up these gaps in the basic health care coverage offered by Medicare. In addition, knowing the differences between plans can help you choose the best plan for your needs.
What is Medigap?
Individuals already enrolled in Medicare know that it’s a type of insurance that can help fill in the gap of what Medicare doesn’t cover. Additionally, it serves as another layer of protection for you, paying for services and supplies that Medicare does not cover.
Medicare plans are expensive, and many gaps in coverage expose you to out-of-pocket expenses. Medigap plans fill up the gaps in Medicare’s coverage, and so you now have a better understanding of why you might need one.
3. Medicare has a Price Tag Attached
It sounds frightening to think of a price tag on something as essential as healthcare. However, this isn’t anything new if you have been following the developments in the industry.
The Original Medicare, Part A & B, has a price tag. The highest price of these two is B. The older you are and the longer you have had Medicare, the higher your premium will be for Part B. Every year on October 16, the government releases a new comparison chart for each state for Part B medical insurance premiums.
All you need to do is make a note of it when comparing all plans.
4. When Should You Enroll in Medicare?
Most Americans know they will get access to health care in retirement as one of the many benefits of Social Security. But there’s a question that most people don’t have an answer to:
“When should I enroll?”
In the past, Medicare was available at age 65.
However, in recent years, a new plan called Medicare Supplements has been made available to people starting at age 62. These are not as comprehensive as Original Medicare and are not mandatory for everyone aged 65. However, the wrong decision about enrolling in these supplements can cost you thousands of dollars out-of-pocket over your lifetime. Therefore, you must consider our licensed insurance agents before enrolling.
In general, we advise people to apply for Medicare three months before they turn 65. Remember that Medicare benefits can’t start until you’re 65 years old. If you currently receive Social Security, you will be registered in Medicare Parts A and B without having to fill out a separate application.
Notably, Social Security benefits are reduced when retirees enroll before the full retirement age – which is 66 for those born between 1943 and 1954.
5. What Else Does Medicare Exclude?
Did you know that Medicare may not cover some of your drug costs?
For instance, they cover 80% of brand-name drugs and 65% of the cost for generic drugs. The rest is up to you to pay. And sometimes, there are other things beyond prescriptions that Medicare doesn’t cover.
Indeed, Part A and Part B do not cover everything, but they still offer 80% coverage on medical expenses. And before relying on a loan or credit cards for uncovered expenses, it’s better to discuss with our insurance agents and be prepared for the unknown.
We’ll identify your medical needs first and suggest the coverage options that fit your needs.
You have to understand the options first before enrolling in any coverage. Understanding your options for 2021 is one thing, but you have to consider the above points to make an informed decision about health insurance plans next year.
It might feel like a lot of information that may change again before 2022 comes around, but you must stay on top of all significant developments. And if all the information overwhelms you, you can get assistance from our licensed insurance agents specializing in Medicare, helping you enroll in a suitable Medicare plan.