Understanding Medicare is no easy task. While there are many details you need to know, these five are among the most important to get started.
- Understand If You Qualify
Medicare is our country’s Federal health insurance system for people turning age 65 or older, under age 65 with certain disabilities, or any age with end-stage renal disease. There are several things that you should consider including your employment status, existing coverage, family member coverage, HSA contributions & several other considerations before making a decision about enrolling and specifically what to enroll in with Medicare.
- Know Your Medical Enrollment Period
If you are 65 or older and a citizen or permanent resident of the United States, you are eligible for all Medicare options. Your “Initial Enrollment Period” begins three months prior to your 65th birthday and continues three months after the month and year you turn 65. There are special considerations if you are born on the first of the month. If you enroll late, your coverage start date will be delayed and you may face late enrollment penalties and/or have to wait for coverage to begin. Enrollment period with Medicare are NOT negotiable. There are complex and very important. If you need assistance navigating the MEDICARE maze including help to review your options and benefits, contact Senior Patient Advocates. http://www.seniorpatientadvocates.com/contact/
- Know Your Healthcare Needs
Once you know you qualify for Medicare and know your enrollment period, the first thing to take inventory of your healthcare needs and that of family members that may rely on current coverage you and your family have. To help assess what type of coverage and what pieces of Medicare you need, ask yourself questions like: do you mostly use insurance for preventative measures, do you expect to have any upcoming surgeries, do you have a chronic illness or health issue that may affect you for the rest of your life, and do you use ongoing physical therapy or chiropractic services to manage your health. Answers to these questions and many other considerations will help you tailor your Medicare options to your healthcare needs. However, be aware that these needs may change at any point. If you don’t include the possibility of issues arising when you review your healthcare needs, you may end up under insured or heading down a path where you cannot change course at a later date in time.
- Understand Each Medicare Part
There are 4 primary parts of Medicare: hospital (Part A), medical (Part B), Medicare Advantage Plans (Part C), and prescription drug (Part D) coverage benefits. In each of the different Medicare Parts, you have the option to choose different coverage and benefit levels. The three most common are hospital (Part A), medical (Part B), and prescription (Part D). Medigap supplemental policies can also be purchased from private insurance companies to help cover costs Medicare approves but does not pay. http://www.seniorpatientadvocates.com/introduction-to-medicare-part-a/ http://www.seniorpatientadvocates.com/introduction-to-medicare-part-b/ http://www.seniorpatientadvocates.com/introduction-to-medicare-part-c/ http://www.seniorpatientadvocates.com/introduction-to-medicare-part-d/
- Understand which Medicare Parts are the Best Fit for You
By combining your understanding of your healthcare needs and the Medicare options available, you can start to identify how to elect your Medicare benefits to best meet your budget and needs. This can be challenging, complex and often difficult to understand. Even though there are many resources available, people still struggle to understand the ins-and-outs of Medicare. Requirements, eligibility, personal history, coverage, and many other details can quickly become overwhelming. Consider visiting the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services https://www.cms.gov/ web site to start. If you need additional help, please contact SeniorPatientAdvocates.com to schedule a “Needs Assessment” appointment.