Health is an important aspect of human life, but getting coverage can give anyone a headache. Medicare is a national health insurance program provided by the federal government.
It was created to cater to Americans aged 65 years old and above, those who are living with a disability, and people with permanent renal failure who undergo dialysis. There are different parts of Medicare, ranging from letters A to D. Each part offers a different aspect. There’s also what is commonly called Medigap and Medicare Advantage. Additionally, a common misconception is that Medicare coverage does not require anyone to pay for seeking care or availing themselves of medication. When health insurance coverage from the employer is factored in, it even makes understanding the Medicare system more difficult. The other headache common among those applying for coverage is when it is best to apply for Medicare. While it is true that Medicare is a complex system, preparation by researching and educating oneself can save trouble when securing coverage. This article will untangle all the knots of Medicare and present a simpler explanation of the system.
What Makes Medicare Complex?
Misconceptions on when to enroll, what is the difference between the different parts of Medicare, and what are the enrollment periods are the most common themes that confused applicants. People who are to turn 65 years old are commonly confused on when is the best time to apply for coverage. Another common question is whether they are eligible for Medicare. To check for eligibility, Medicare’s website can do the eligibility check and compute the premium. In regards to the different parts of Medicare, Part A offer insurance coverage for hospital stay. It also covers care provided in long-term care facilities, assisted living for the elderly, and some home care. Medical services are covered in Part B. It includes doctor’s fees, outpatient care, and medical supplies among others. Part D works like an accessory, as it can be attached to the original Medicare and some Medicare Cost Plans. Medicare Advantage or Part C offers Parts A, B, and D in one package, and is considered an alternative to the traditional or original Medicare. Initial, special, general, open, and Medigap open are the names of the enrollment periods for Medicare. Initial refers to the period when those who reach the required age of 65 applies for Medicare, Special is the time when those eligible can enroll in Part B without paying penalty for late application, General is the period when those who missed the signing period for Part B, and Annual Open Enrollment is a yearly period where those insured can change to a different plan.
To be prepared for applying for Medicare coverage, there is a need to be acquainted with the following steps:
- Check for eligibility
- Understand the different parts of Medicare
- Be familiar with the enrollment periods of Medicare
Research and familiarizing is the answer to the complexities of Medicare. It might be tough to take all this information in one sitting, but daily research and preparation can help in finding the best coverage Medicare has to offer during retirement.
Question and Answers
Q: Am I eligible for Medicare?
A: The best way to check for eligibility is by visiting the Medicare website. It is advised that those turning 65 years old check their eligibility and sign up for coverage three months prior to their birthday. Early application allows anyone to avoid paying late penalties.
Q: Does Medicare cover all my health needs?
A: No. Medicare also requires you to take money out of your pocket when seeking care or buying prescription drugs. Given that, it is best to decide whether to make use of the so-called traditional or original Medicare, or be enrolled in the Medigap or a Medicare Advantage plan prior to enrollment.
Q: What are the different parts of Medicare? How do they differ from each other?
A: Medicare offers plans A, B, C, and D. Medicare A offer hospital insurance, Part B covers fees for the physician, medical supplies, and outpatient care, and Part D acts like an “add-on” to other plans for prescription drugs. Part C or the Medicare Advantage is a combination of all parts of Medicare and is an alternative to traditional Medicare. To better understand it, Medicare made a video presentation of all parts.
Q: Can I change my coverage?
A: Yes, it can be done during the annual open enrollment period, usually from October 15 until December 7 every year.
Q: What dates should I be familiar with?
A: Medicare has several enrollment periods. Initial enrollment period happens for seven months, with three months prior to, the birthday month, and three months after the applicant’s birthday. Annual open registration happens yearly on October 15 to December 7, while general annual open enrollment takes place from January 1 through March 31 every year. For those enrolled in Medicare Advantage, they can opt to transfer to traditional Medicare from January 1 to February 14.