Medicare is a plan that helps out millions of Americans. However, it can be rather confusing at times. Sometimes it is hard to know what you really need in a plan. Below you will find about 5 things you need to know about your plan and what you really should be looking for.
Your early 60’s is the best time to start thinking about Medicare. It may not begin until you hit the age of 65, but you still need to concern yourself with it prior to this age. Think about which doctors will be covered under your plan. Equally important is what medications will you need? Will these be covered under your plan? Another important question is how high or low will your premiums and deductibles be? Not all plans are going to be beneficial. Sometimes the cheaper options are not the better way to go.
You Have to Know Your ABC’s
Part A is your hospital insurance. Part B is your medical insurance. These two are considered to be part of the “original medicare”. Next, Plans C-E are considered to be alternative plans. Other names you may know them by are supplemental or Medigap plans. This goes for the drug coverage too.
Do not to mistake supplemental plans as your “primary insurance”. Remember, these plans will only fill in the gaps of what plans A and B will not cover. Medicare recipients need to be aware of this.
Sign Up For Social Security
Here is the deal. Are you signed up for social security? Your coverage will begin on the first day of the month you reach 65. Therefore, you must call your local social security office about 3 months before your 65th birthday. By doing this, you save yourself from any late charges, fees, and penalties. Those who have someone make a call on their behalf will need to have this in writing. In addition, there may be some pre-existing things that are putting you at a disadvantage.
Choose your Plans Carefully
Every plan has its own tier level. Attached to each tier is a list of drugs and their costs. Some drugs may not be on the plan you are considering. Although it is tempting to choose a plan based on its cost, it is much wiser to choose a plan based on your medical needs. You get what you pay for with this option. Additionally, you need to enroll at the right time for your drug coverage to be effective. Waiting will only cause you to face fees and penalties. Additionally, it will also cause your coverage to be delayed. Therefore, you must register on time for your drug coverage to be approved and verified.
Knowing the Dates is Helpful
There are a few dates every medicare recipient needs to be aware of. October 1st is the big date to keep in mind. This is when you can begin looking at your options and see what plan is the better choice for you. October 15th-December 7th is known as the “open enrollment period” Choose your plan and sign up at this time. Also, you can make adjustments to the coverage you already have if needed. Furthermore, you can switch your plan if your needs have changed.
January 1st is the second date you need to remember. All the choices during your “enrollment period” will take effect. There are only 3 situations where these timelines may or may not be waived. First, you lost your coverage at work. This happens to many people. Second, you made a major move or change in your life. This will need to be verified in writing if it happens. Third, you are assigned something by the government. This is something else you need to talk to the office about to discuss your options.
What Are the Costs?
First, let’s consider Part A of Medicare. For most individuals Part A has no premiums. This is true if you or your mate have at least a ten year history of employment. However, if for some reason you do not qualify for the no premium feature, your cost could be as much as $458.00. If and how much you have paid into the Medicare system through payroll taxes will determine your cost, if any.
Part A covers inpatient care at a hospital or a skilled nursing facility. In addition, it will cover Hospice care and home health care. Keep in mind that if you have no additional coverage, your deductible will be $1408.00. The time period for this coverage is 60 days. After that, the cost rises to $352.00 per day. After 90 days, the daily cost rises to $704.00 a day. For this reason, it is beneficial to consider supplemental coverage.
Part B Costs
Checking the cost of Medicare rates each year will help you plan your budget. For 2020, the rate for Part B Medicare is $144.60 per month. This reflects an increase of $9.10 from the 2019 rate. This is your base price for Part B Medicare. Coverage for Part B includes doctors and outpatient services. Any supplemental or Medigap plan you purchase is not reflected in this price. In case you’re wondering, Part A Medicare is free to most Americans at retirement age.
Higher Income Cost of Medicare
For those with a high income, the cost of Medicare Part B will be slightly more. For example, if you are single and have a modified adjusted gross income (MAGI) of more than $87,000 but less than $109,000 your rate will be higher. Your rate will cost you $202.40. This is the same rate for couples with an MAGI of more than $174,000 but less than 218,000. For the very wealthy, the rates are even higher. Premiums for Medicare Part B can cost anywhere from $289 to $491.60 a month. The deductible for Part B in 2020 is 198.00.
What Does Medicare Pay?
It’s important to know that Medicare is not 100% coverage for all health related expenses. As a Medicare recipient you will be responsible for 20% of all covered expenses. Medicare picks up the other 80%. This is where it’s important to learn and get as much knowledge as you can about supplemental plans. A good supplemental plan will help you pay for for expenses that Parts A and B of Medicare do not cover.
As for Medicare supplemental plans, this is where you definitely need to do your homework and shop around. Rates change every year. It is difficult to say, “This plan is the best one.” You need to determine which plan is the best one for you. Base your decision on your current and even your future health care needs. Once choosing a plan, it is yours to keep for a year. You will be able to choose another plan during open enrollment.
Finding A Health Care Agent
Many seniors have found it beneficial to use a health care agent to help them find the best and most affordable plan. They are up to date on all the insurance plans available and the costs and coverage they provide. You will often get the best advise from an agent. Otherwise, you are free to shop on your own. Medicare will send you information on available plans and persistence on your part will yield results.
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