Choosing a Medicare plan that’s right for your needs and budget can be challenging. That’s why you should be aware of the top five tips that can help make that decision easier!
How to Know If You Are Eligible
If you are turning 65, you should enroll in Medicare during the Initial Enrollment Period. The 7-month period includes the three months before you turn 65 and ends three months after turning 65. However, you can still qualify for Medicare if you have End-Stage Renal Disease or a disability, and you have been receiving Social Security Disability benefits for two years.
In general, Medicare eligibility requirements are:
- to be a U.S. citizen or a permanent resident for at least 5 years
- to be age 65 or older
- to receive Social Security disability benefits for at least 24 months in a row
- to be diagnosed with End-Stage Renal Disease (ESRD) or Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS)
When to Enroll
Since you can sign up for the program before your birthday month, you qualify for the program before turning 65. Moreover, you will automatically enroll in Part A and Part B when you turn 65 if you currently receive Social Security benefits. But in general, you are required to enroll during your Initial Enrollment Period, otherwise, you will be exposed to the late enrollment penalty. If you miss enrollment during the Initial enrollment period, you can do it during the Open Enrollment Period, which happens every year from October 15 to December 7. For those who have health coverage through their employment, there is a Special Enrollment period, which starts in the month when you lose your current coverage and lasts for 8 months. If you enroll during the Special Enrollment period you will not be exposed to the late enrollment penalty fee.
Choose the Right Coverage Type
Before enrolling in this program, you must understand the type of coverage you can receive from Medicare. Different parts cover different services, which are as follows:
- Part A is commonly referred to as hospital insurance because it covers inpatient services
- Part B is commonly referred to as medical insurance, it covers outpatient services
- Part C covers both inpatient and outpatient services, including additional benefits like prescription drugs, dental, vision, and hearing
- Part D is a prescription drug plan that covers medications through private insurance companies
Choose a Plan with an Extensive Network
You can consult any doctor who accepts Medicare when you have Original Medicare. But when you have a Medicare Advantage plan, you will have to check the hospitals and doctors in your network. Check with any specialists, hospitals, or primary care physicians that you prefer before choosing a plan. Try to choose the Advantage plan type with the most extensive network of health providers.
Find Out What’s Not Covered
With Original Medicare, you don’t get coverage for vision, hearing, or dental issues. For that, you will have to enroll in the Medicare Advantage plan, or you will have high pocket costs for those services. When evaluating all options, consider the kind of coverage you will require in the upcoming year and explore the benefits that come with each plan option.
Don’t Miss the Deadline!
In most cases, people get health insurance through their own or their spouse’s employer. However, if you do not already have health insurance coverage, you should avoid missing the deadline if you don’t want to delay your Medicare enrollment. If you don’t sign up within eight months of losing the coverage, you may have to wait until the next enrollment period or pay a hefty fee.
If you want to know more about how to choose a Medicare plan, contact Temmen Insurance.