When you turn 65, you will become eligible for Medicare. This is great news for retirees or soon-to-be retirees, because the tax-funded program helps enormously with the cost of healthcare for those over 65. But as your 65th birthday approaches and you begin the enrollment process, you might find that the program is far more complicated than you had imagined. Here are 8 things you need to know about Medicare.
The original Medicare program is split into two parts. Medicare Part A covers hospitalization, while Part B is devoted to regular doctor visits.
You must enroll in Medicare when you turn 65. Contrary to popular belief, Medicare isn’t exactly an “optional” program. Even if you’re still employed and covered by a group health insurance package, you must enroll in Medicare by four months after you turn 65. After that point, you will be charged a significantly higher premium when you do eventually enroll.
You might also need supplemental coverage. Medicare Parts A and B don’t necessarily cover everything you will need. For example, you might wish to enroll in a supplemental prescription drug program, called Part D coverage. You might also wish to investigate other types of coverage, such as traveler’s insurance if you plan to travel a lot, since Medicare often does not cover services provided outside the country.
Medicare Part C combines both Parts A and B. Also known as Advantage plans, Part C combines hospitalization and routine care into into plan. It might also include prescription coverage (Part D).
Coverage might change. Plan administrators occasionally make changes to coverage, so read all notices that might arrive in your mailbox.
Costs can vary. Medicare Parts A and B cost about the same for everyone, but Parts C and D coverage might vary significantly depending upon your geographical area.
You can change your plan. You are not locked into the plan you chose. Each year, you can add or drop Medicare plans during the Annual Election Period, between October 15 and December 7.
We can help you. You are allowed - even encouraged - to seek help with making a decision. Give us a call and we can help you compare Medicare plans, so that you can decide which one best suits your current needs.