Did you know that original Medicare does not cover all of your healthcare costs? At least 20% of the cost for outpatient care will come from your own pocket. You can offset these costs and fill in the gap with a Medicare Supplement Plan (Medigap).
Although Medicare is regulated by the government, the coverage and premiums for Supplement Plans can vary greatly, depending on geographic location and most importantly, by carrier. That’s why it’s important to have an experienced Senior Advisor, such as O’Brien & Associates to help you review your needs and match you with a quality plan and carrier that will save you the most.
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What is Medicare?
Medicare is the federal health insurance program for people who are 65 or older. The different parts of Medicare help cover specific services:
Medicare Part A (Hospital Insurance)
Part A covers inpatient hospital stays, care in a skilled nursing facility, hospice care, and some home health care.
Medicare Part B (Medical Insurance)
Part B covers certain doctors’ services, outpatient care, medical supplies, and preventive services. Most people will pay a standard Part B premium which varies depending on income.
To sign up for Medicare Parts A and B, most people will have an Initial Enrollment Period which is a 7 month period around the time they turn age 65. This period begins 3 months before the month you turn 65, includes the month you turn 65, and ends 3 months after the month you turn 65.
Once your Initial Enrollment Period is over, if you wish to change or purchase Advantage and Supplement Plans, you must act during the annual open enrollment period of October 15th through December 7th.
If you miss the deadline, you still may be able to enroll in a plan outside of the open enrollment period, however you will need a qualifying event to be eligible.
Following are the special circumstances in which one may qualify to enroll outside of the enrollment period.
- You are turning 65
- You move to a new area that is not in your current plan’s service area
- Recently moved back to the US
- You lose your current coverage (either Group or Medicaid)
- You now need a SNP (Special Needs Plan) or you no longer need a SNP
To help you be prepared, you should review your current plan, including any change notices for the coming year. If you are not sure about your current coverage, you can always check your Medicare and/or other insurance cards, and call the numbers listed on them for more information.
Medicare Part D Plans add prescription drugs to your coverage, but ARE NOT part of your original Medicare. They can be purchased as stand alone policies. Once you are eligible for Medicare, do not wait to enroll in a Medicare Part D Plan or you could end up paying a penalty every month, on top of your regular premium.