There’s more to planning your 65th birthday than cake and candles, there’s Medicare enrollment too. With all the confusing information about Medicare parts, supplemental plans, deadlines and costs, it can be a headache. Here are some quick tips to make the decision-making process smarter and easier.
1) Don’t be Freaked Out by Jargon
You will inevitably come across Medicare words that will turn your mind numb. We will help explain Medicare jargon in plain English below.
2) Sign Up for Original Medicare First
Whether interested in a Medigap plan, a Medicare Advantage plan, or just a drug plan, most Americans will want to start with Original Medicare.
Original Medicare coverage is broken into two main parts:
- Medicare Part A: covers inpatient hospital stays, care in nursing facilities, hospice care, and some home health care.
- Medicare Part B: covers certain doctors’ services, outpatient care, medical supplies, and preventive services.
Part A usually has no monthly fee whereas part B is based on your income. Those currently receiving Social Security or disability benefits are automatically enrolled in Medicare but the rest of us will have to select it. Please Note: If you have employer-based health insurance, you may be able to delay your Medicare enrollment.
3) Decide Between Medigap and Medicare Advantage
Once enrolled in Original Medicare, most people select one of the following:
- Medicare Advantage Plan (Occasionally referred to as Medicare Part C): These plans cover Medicare Part A and Part B benefits but are managed through a private insurance company. These plans often include drug coverage,
- Medicare Supplement Plan (Almost always called Medigap): Medigap plans are private plans that supplement Medicare. Medigap plans cover out-of-pocket costs (copayments, deductibles, etc.) not covered by Medicare. Most people who go this path also select a separate Medicare Part D drug plan.
You cannot have both so try our Medicare Insurance Recommendation Guide which will help you choose which plan is right for you.
4) Don’t Miss Your Deadlines
Know your deadlines or you may be penalized for missing your enrollment period! Check out Senior65’s Deadline Calculator. It keeps track of important deadlines so you can avoid late fees or waiting periods.
It’s best to shop for Medigap plans when first enrolling in Medicare, as you are guaranteed coverage regardless of preexisting conditions.
If you have any questions, please leave a comment below or call us at the number above.