3 Things Every Senior Should Know About Medicare
If you are a senior who has reached a point in their life when they need to start considering Medicare—then you may have some questions. When seniors enter this phase in their life, their health insurance is about to change drastically, but the more seniors know about Medicare and their Medicare options—the better off they will be.
- There Are Three Different Enrollment Periods
When it is time to sign up for Medicare, seniors will notice there are three different enrollment periods. Here is the breakdown of what these enrollment periods mean.
- Initial Enrollment- This is the first-time seniors can sign up for Medicare. There is a seven month window for initial enrollment. It begins three months before your 65th. It ends 3 months after your birthday. If you sign up during this initial enrollment period, you can sign up for your plan without answering any medical questions.
- General Enrollment- If seniors do not sign up before they turn 65, then they will need to sign up during the General Enrollment Period. This sign up period is between January 1st and March 31st every year.
- Special Enrollment Period- There is also a special enrollment period that is only available to individuals who meet certain requirements. Seniors will need to check their enrollment options
- There Is Part A and Part B Medicare
Seniors will also notice there is both Medicare Part A and Medicare Part B.
- Medicare Part A will help cover your inpatient care in hospitals. This is a type of hospital insurance that covers your medical costs when you are already sick. It also includes coverage in skilled nursing care facilities, home health care providers and hospice. However, it does not include long-term care.
- Medicare Part B will help cover medical insurance and preventative care. This is the part of coverage that covers your expenses before you get sick.
- Supplemental Medicare Insurance
If there is one thing that tends to surprise seniors about Medicare, it’s that there are quite a few things that Medicare does not cover. It only covers around 80 percent of the cost for Medicare-covered services. This means seniors who have a $10,000 hospital bill will still have a $2,000 expense out of pocket. This doesn’t include any drug coverage.
This is why some people consider additional Medicare coverage. There are a few options.
- Part C- It is a plan that combines Part A and Part B and acts as your primary insurance. It typically includes prescription drug coverage. This is also known as Medicare Advantage. Private insurance companies will provide Medicare Part C coverage.
- Medigap- Also known as Medicare Supplement, it covers 20 percent of the costs that Medicare does not cover. There are different options available, that have different costs and offer different levels of coverage.
- Part D- Also known as Medicare Prescription Drug, this plan helps offset the cost of your medications. There are also different plans available with this program.
These three tips are very important for any senior who is about to have Medicare coverage as it can make all of the difference in their health and insurance coverage.
- Kimberly Langdon M.D. is a retired, board-certified obstetrician/gynecologist with 19-years of clinical experience. She graduated from The Ohio State University College of Medicine earning Honors in many rotations. She then completed her OB/GYN residency program at The Ohio State University Medical Center, earning first-place for her senior research project and placed in the 98th percentile on the national exam for OB/GYN residents in the U.S..
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