Imagine (and maybe you dont have to imagine) you are turning 65 years old later this year. A significant milestone, if for no other reason than becoming eligible to receive Medicare. What do you do? How should you prepare for it? What is next?
Read Up On Medicare Eligibility And Coverage
Individuals who turn 65 and have been paying into the Medicare system for at least 10 years (or have spouses who have paid) are among those automatically eligible for Medicare Part A. This part of Medicare covers inpatient hospital insurance, skilled nursing facility care, hospice care, and home health care. Inform yourself on whats covered, what might require additional coverage and how you fit in.
Enroll in Medicare Part B
Getting covered in Medicare Part B — medical insurance — requires enrolling in the program three months before you turn 65. Delaying enrollment could mean having to pay a late fee or other penalty. Part B covers details such as clinical research, ambulance service, durable medical equipment, your mental health coverage and certain outpatient prescription drugs. Important stuff. Check the list at Medicare.gov to see what might be covered (and what isnt).
Pick Your Medicare Plan
Original Medicare includes Parts A and B. Part C refers to Medicare Advantage, which is sold by private insurance companies via the preferred provider option (PPO). Medicare Advantage offers a wider range of services including vision, dental, and hearing coverage that Medicare A and B wont cover (at least thoroughly). You might not feel the need for the comprehensive coverage offered in Medicare Advantage; its going to depend on your own health, finances, and other personal concerns. If you do enroll in Advantage, you also pay premiums for Part B, with costs depending on the plan you pick.
Dont Forget The Prescriptions
Medicare Part D is an optional benefit that handles prescription drugs, which otherwise would be prohibitively expensive for many. Medicares website offers a starting point for figuring out which Part D plan is right for you. Be aware of the differing enrollment periods for Medicare Parts C and D. Also be aware of late fees or other penalties if you miss an enrollment period. Visit Medicare.Gov or call 1-800-Medicare if you have questions.
Fill The Gaps
What about copayments, coinsurance, deductibles and other costs? Theres always something with insurance, which is why Medigap is an option. In Medicare Part A, a deductible costs an individual at least $1,200 for each hospital stay. Medigap policies cover this partially or completely, depending on the plan. Medigap policies also cover Part A coinsurance and hospital costs up to an additional 365 days after Medicare benefits stop. Medigap policies also could cover international medical expenses if you travel outside of the U.S.
Line Your Pockets — Just In Case
No matter what you pay for Medicare-related insurance, its likely you will have to pay for medical expenses. A married couple might incur $2,000 in annual bills for medical services and goods not covered by Medicare. These might include most dental care, eye exams related to getting prescription glasses, dentures or other dental work, and hearing aids.
Prepare appropriately. Consider any medical expense you might need, check to see if Medicare covers it and plan accordingly. Inevitably, preparing for the future will require saving more money.
The SelectQuote Senior site is full of helpful information about Medicare and how we work together to help you select the best coverage. A SelectQuote licensed sales agent is available to answer questions. They help simplify the process and select a plan thats right for you.