Medicare can be a relatively complex landscape to deal with. After all, you have Original Medicare, along with different parts and even various plans to choose from. Turning 65 years old shouldn’t be so troublesome! You would be right in all this. Your senior years should be relaxing and not worrying about what a Plan G is or a Part D and how Part C differs from Plan C. It can be a bit mind-boggling as there’s so much information everywhere, but getting the right kind is another thing.
Choosing what you want to be part of your overall Medicare plan is an essential part of your retirement. After all, your health can change instantly, even if you are in excellent health at the moment. You want to be prepared, but you also don’t want to pay outrageous premiums. No one will blame you for this. While dealing with Medicare for the first time can be frustrating in figuring out, once you know everything you need, you’ll be set.
Figuring out Medicare is frustrating and time-consuming. It can also be discouraging. The information here is to help you navigate the world of Medicare and give you the extra knowledge needed to make the right decision regarding your current and future health. Remember, you aren’t alone in this. We are here to help you at Medicare On Video!
Choosing Your Type of Medicare
The internet is full of information on Medicare plans. Before you dive headfirst into the search process, there are a couple of things to keep in mind. When it comes to Medicare, you’ll find two different types of plans. One will be Medicare Advantage or Part C of Medicare. The other will be a supplement to your Original Medicare. Neither of these two is the same, and they work in different ways from the other. In fact, you can only choose one! Once you understand how each one will work for you, you can break down your questions to see which one will work better.
Questions you should consider:
- When it comes to either of these types of Medicare, do your physicians participate? All doctors who accept Medicare will take Original Medicare with a Medicare Supplement plan, while Medicare Advantage plans have networks of doctors and providers who accept their plans.
- If you have a hospital that you’d prefer to go to, will they take your Original Medicare or Medicare Advantage?
- How often do you travel outside your zip code? Original Medicare and a supplement will cover you anywhere in the nation as long as they take Medicare. With a Medicare Advantage plan, you are stuck with a specific network of doctors, and that network is tied to where you live.
- Do you have a high-risk tolerance? If the spending on your health was high, do you have the savings needed for the Medicare Advantage plan? After all, these may require a hefty out-of-pocket maximum that you’ll have to pay.
- Which of these types of Medicare will give you the peace of mind that you deserve? Would you prefer a lower premium? Is paying for any services you need acceptable? If this helps you sleep better at night, then Medicare Advantage may be the type for you. If and expenses have you worrying regularly, then choosing a Medicare Supplement may be the way to go. These will let you know which costs you’ll be responsible for, if any, no matter what your health may be.
Give us a call at 877-88KEITH (53484) an experienced agent will walk you through the coverage differences between Medicare Supplement plans and Medicare Advantage plans.
Types of Enrollment
Before you get ready to choose your plan or part of Medicare, it’s essential to know when your enrollment period is. Setting up your enrollment in Medicare Part A and Part B is a big factor in setting up any additional coverage. You don’t want to miss your enrollment period as it can affect your care by giving you costly penalties or even a denial of coverage.
- Initial Enrollment Period: This is essentially the most important date to remember. It starts three months before your 65th birthday, it also includes your birthday month, and then it extends for another three months afterward. This gives you a seven-month window, but it’s best not to wait as time has a way of moving fast. You will want to enroll in Medicare during your Initial Enrollment Period if you will not have any other creditable employer health insurance past age 65. If you are already retired and drawing your Social Security benefits, don’t worry, you’ll be automatically enrolled into Medicare during this time period!
- Special Enrollment Period: If you or your spouse have had creditable coverage, like an employer group plan, then you can enroll after you stop working or when the coverage ends. This period will last for eight months following the last day of your employer coverage. You will need to submit the CMS L564 form along with your Medicare Part B application to verify your previous employer coverage.
- General Enrollment Period: If you missed the Initial Enrollment Period, you can sign up for Medicare Part B from January 1 through March 31 every year. With this enrollment, you will be subject to late enrollment penalties as this type of enrollment isn’t a safety net. Your Medicare Part B coverage also won’t begin until July 1st.
- Annual Enrollment Period: This is the same every year and goes from October 15 through December 7. It’s specifically for Medicare Advantage (Part C) and Medicare Part D. You can enroll in a new plan or keep your current one. This enrollment period is most important for people who are already enrolled in Medicare plans.
- Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment: If you need to change your mind about these plans, this open enrollment period can help. The period of enrollment is January 1 through March 31rd.
No matter what type of Medicare you want to have, you must still enroll at the right time or deal with the continuous penalties involved.
Parts of Medicare
The parts of Medicare are different than your supplement plans. This will give you a quick rundown of each. More information on each can be found on our website.
- Part A: This is your hospital insurance that covers your inpatient care. It doesn’t cover things like surgeries or actual treatments. It’s going to be your room and board and is part of the Original Medicare.
- Part B: This is your outpatient care like your treatments, surgeries, doctor’s visits, lab work, etc.
- Part C: This part is also known as Medicare Advantage or private insurance. It takes the place of Parts A and B, but you still have to be enrolled in them to take advantage of Part C.
- Part D: This part of Medicare will be your retail drug prescription coverage. If you need a prescription, then this part is essential as medications can prove expensive.
Choosing a Medicare Supplement
Since 1990, all Medicare Supplement plans have been standardized. This makes it so much easier to look at the plans as each one will be the same from one insurance carrier to the next. For example, Plan F with one carrier will be the same as Plan F with another. The same goes for all the others. Medicare supplement plans are A-N, but not all areas or insurance carriers will offer the full list of plans.
If you feel a Medicare supplement plan or Medigap plan is the best choice for you, we can curate a list of the plans available in your area. This will make it easier as we have access to the different insurance carriers across the nation. These do vary and are dependent on your age, gender, zip code, and tobacco use. It also takes into consideration any eligibility for household discounts as well.
Here, we will help you make the best decision you can based on your current and healthcare needs. Your monthly budget may also play a big part in your decision as some plans do cost more than others. Some will also have more benefits and perks than others, so keeping that in mind when making your choice on which supplement plan will work the best for you.
Give us a call at 877-88KEITH (53484) an experienced agent will walk you through the available Medicare Supplement plan options in your area.
Medicare Supplement Plans
When it comes to Medicare Supplement plans there are about 12 options available. These plans are labeled A through N. Each one is designed to fill a specific or all the gaps in Medicare. Since Medicare Parts A and B won’t cover everything, you’ll be responsible for the rest. This includes deductibles, coinsurances, copayments and excess charges that Medicare will pass on to you. Supplement plans may cover some, if not all, of these expenses. If you hear the term, Medigap, rest assured that both Medigap plans and Medicare Supplements are the same things. You can find more information on each plan on the website, but here is a quick rundown on each. Knowing what each one covers will help you make the right choice.
- Medigap Plan A: This plan is relatively basic, but it’ll cover the 20% you’d typically be responsible for. There is however, still a fair amount of cost-sharing on this plan.
- Medigap Plan B: Covers the same benefits as Plan A. It also pays for the Part A deductible.
- Medigap Plan C: As a comprehensive supplement, Plan C will cover everything but the excess charges that Medicare will pass on to you. It pays the deductibles for Parts A and B and the 20% you’d typically pay.
- Medigap Plan D: This plan covers a many benefits, but not the Part B deductible or any of the excess charges that get passed on to you.
- Medigap Plan F: This plan will cover everything leaving you no out of pocket costs. The downside is any new enrollees from January 1 of 2020 and can no longer enroll in this plan.
- Medigap Plan G: Like Plan F, it pays for everything except for the deductible for Part B. Plan G is typically a much more cost-efficient plan than Plan F.
- Medigap Plans K, L, M: The coverage for these plans is partial and are the least requested from most people. You can find some great rates on these if they’re offered in your area.
- Medigap Plan N: A newer plan, you’ll find that you’ll have low premiums but still have copays for your ER or doctor’s visits. You’ll always be responsible for any excess charges that Medicare passes on to you, although excess charges are not very common. This plan is the most popular after Plans F and G.
When you’re choosing a plan, not all of them will be offered in your area. Insurers are required to carry supplement plans but can still choose which ones they want to provide. Speak with your agent to see which of these are offered and get some quotes for the ones you are considering to make a better decision.
Choosing a Medicare Advantage Plan
If the Original Medicare and supplements aren’t what you’re looking for, then Medicare Advantage may be a different solution. Medicare.gov has many options, and best of all, a Medicare Plan Finder Tool that will help you look for the best plan in your county. You can search based on your needs and preferences. You may find some HMO plans that offer low monthly premiums. A Medicare PPO could provide you with more flexibility. Some have out-of-network benefits in case you travel out of state or county.
Other Medicare Advantage Plans you may find:
- Medicare Cost Plans
- Special Needs Plans
- PFFS Plans
Having an agent to help you sort through all these different plans will benefit you and your future healthcare to make the right decision and gain some peace of mind.
Getting Some Help
Before you pull your hair out or throw your arms up in frustration, get some help. At Medicare On Video, we can help you find the right plan and the right cost for your healthcare needs. You’ll have all the information needed before you make a decision. You can get plan information and insurer provider information like financial ratings and history of the carrier’s rate trends for numerous private insurance carriers. Having the information you need before making your decision is essential to your healthcare and peace of mind. Getting the help you need will help you find the right plan taken by your preferred physicians. An agent can also help you find one that will fit within your budget will make the experiences easier to handle.