Medicare is a national health insurance program for people age 65 and older. In addition, certain people under the age of 65 may qualify if on Social Security Disability. Medicare has experienced many changes in its first 50 years and we’re confident there will be more changes in the future.
Your Medicare planning should be coordinated with your overall Retirement Income Planning.
Enrolling in Medicare
Prior to enrolling in Medicare, you should focus on two areas:
- 1. Your Enrollment Period
Knowing when you MUST enroll, and perhaps more importantly when you SHOULD enroll, will help you avoid any gaps in coverage and late enrollment penalties.
- Initial Enrollment Period
- Special Enrollment Period
- General Enrollment Period
- 2. Original Medicare and Medicare Advantage Plans
With an understanding of your enrollment periods, the next area that requires careful consideration is deciding between either Original Medicare with a Medigap supplement and a Part D Prescription Drug Plan OR a Medicare Advantage Plan. The two different programs have many similarities as well as many differences. Having an understanding of these program differences will assist you in making decisions that fit your healthcare needs and preferences.
When you are fully enrolled in Medicare, you should monitor your areas of coverage regularly. If you have Original Medicare with a Medigap supplement and a Part D Prescription Drug Plan, you should monitor the costs of your drug plan premium and also your out-of-pocket drug cost changes to avoid unexpected cost increases. With Medigap policies, you need to pay attention to changes in policy premiums, as well as any changes made to the standardized coverage.
If you have a Medicare Advantage plan, you need to monitor several components – premiums, deductibles and co-payments can be changed year-by-year by the insurance company offering your plan. The levels of coverage can change, as can the network of hospitals and physicians available in your plan.
Your Medicare Resource
Our office can offer you guidance with your Medicare planning. To take full advantage of our expertise in this area, we frequently offer Medicare educational workshops throughout the community. Please give us a call to learn more and/or to register.