New to Medicare? Here are 5 Critical Questions to Ask
Whether you are approaching 65 and getting ready to enroll in Medicare or want to switch from your employer coverage, there are some crucial questions you should ask. From knowing Medicare basics to how to lower Medicare costs, these questions will help you understand your coverage options to enable you to choose the right one for your needs.
What are the basics of Medicare?
The first thing to do to make navigating and enrolling in Medicare a lot easier is to become familiar with the basics, such as the eligibility criteria for Medicare, the parts of Medicare and what they cover, enrollment periods and how missing deadlines can result in higher premiums and lifetime penalties, and how Medicare differs from other health insurance such as the employer group plan.
What are the parts of Medicare?
Medicare consists of four parts - A, B, C, and D. Part A is hospital insurance, while Part B is medical insurance. Together, Parts A and B are collectively known as Original Medicare.
Most people enrolled in Parts A and B also have Medicare Supplement to help with out-of-pocket costs. They also sign up for Part D to get coverage for drug prescriptions. Part C, called Medicare Advantage, is a bundled plan that offers everything in Original Medicare and additional benefits, including dental and vision and drug prescription.
What are my coverage options?
There are a variety of coverage options available. Will you enroll in Original Medicare and then add Medicare Supplement and Part D plans? Or is a Medicare Advantage plan best suited for your health needs and budget?
Before choosing a plan, understand the pros and cons of each plan and evaluate your health requirements and the monthly premiums you can afford. A Medicare broker can explain your options to you, so be sure to work with one.
What if I have health insurance through an employer group plan?
Are you working past 65 and still getting health insurance from an employer? Depending on your circumstances, it can be best to keep your employee coverage, switch to Medicare, or combine both. If you’re working with a company with more than 20 employees, you can also delay Medicare enrollment without facing Medicare penalties.
To make the right decision, compare the premium, copays, deductible, coinsurance, and what your group plan covers with that of Medicare. Read more on applying for Medicare when working past 65.
Can I enroll in programs that help lower Medicare costs?
Medicare out-of-pocket costs can overwhelm your budget, especially if you’re a low-income earner. However, you can apply to federal and state programs that help you cover costs related to copayments, coinsurance, and deductibles. Speak with an agent to know if you’re eligible.
If you’re new to Medicare, you’ll surely have plenty of questions running through your mind. If you have other questions not covered above or you need help comparing your coverage options, our licensed agents are ready to help you make the right decision. Get in touch today.