Have It Your Way With Medicare!
There are two basic ways to choose your Medicare plan. You can select the “Original Medicare” plan that includes both Part A and Part B, with an option to add a Medicare Part D prescription drug plan and/or a Medigap supplemental insurance plan. The other option is to select a Medicare Part C plan, also known as a Medicare Advantage Plan, that combines Part A and Part B coverage and may offer additional benefits for dental, vision and hearing. Most Medicare Advantage Plans include Part D prescription drug benefits as well.
The Importance of a Medicare Prescription Drug Plan
Original Medicare does not cover prescription drugs. That’s why there’s a Medicare Part D. You can use Medicare Part D as a stand-alone plan to cover prescription drugs or you can select a Medicare Advantage Plan that offers the prescription drug coverage that best meets your needs. Isn’t it nice to have options?
Medicare is funded by the payroll taxes collected from you while you worked. This way, you and Medicare both share in the expenses for the health care you receive in retirement. In addition to what you already paid through taxes, you’ll also pay monthly premiums, deductibles, co-pays or co-insurance. The amount you pay is all based on the plan and level of health coverage you choose.
Planning for Medicare Expenses
You may choose to add a Medicare supplement insurance plan to your Original Medicare plan to help with the deductibles, co-pays and co-insurance that Original Medicare charges. In some cases, a Medicare Advantage plan will be a better option. Your Medicare agent can help you choose the right option for your particular situation.
Geographic Cost Differences
The federal government provides the same benefits for Original Medicare (Parts A and B) no matter where you live in the United States. Medicare Advantage, Medicare Part D and Medicare supplement insurance plans vary depending on where you live and the rates charged by the independent insurance companies.
Original Medicare Will Not Cover All Expenses
Medicare is not designed to cover all health care needs. That’s why it’s important to understand what Medicare does cover. This way you can decide on the additional coverage that’s right for you.
The Importance of On-Time Medicare Enrollment
Your Medicare Initial Enrollment Period (IEP) is a 7-month window. It begins 3 months before the month you turn 65 or when you become eligible for Medicare due to disability. If you don’t join during your IEP period you may pay more and have fewer choices available to you.
Review Your Health Care Needs Annually
Selecting a Medicare coverage plan does not lock you in forever. Each year you can change your plan options during the Medicare Annual Enrollment Period (AEP). The AEP is a seven week period from October 15th through December 7th.
As your health and budget change, it’s important to make corresponding changes in your Medicare plan. Be sure to review your coverage each year to make sure it continues to meet your needs.
We’re Here To Help!
Don’t be shy about asking for assistance with Medicare. Help is available for everyone making Medicare choices. And financial assistance programs can help with the cost of Medicare for people with limited income and assets. Choosing your Medicare plan is an important decision. Talking through your options with an expert can help you find the coverage that’s right for you.