Medicare is a governmental health insurance program offered to people age 65 or older, younger people with certain disabilities or End-Stage Renal Disease. As a birthday present to you on your 65th, you are eligible for Part A, at no cost if you qualify. If you would like to add more coverage, you may tailor your benefits by purchasing Supplemental plans B, C, D, F, K or N. You will also see these plans referred to as “Medigap” plans. Listed below are descriptions of the most commonly purchased plans:
Medicare part A: Plan A, or hospital insurance, helps cover payments associated with inpatient care when admitted to a hospital, skilled nursing facility, some home health care, or hospice care. Though most will not pay for A, your eligible family members may need to pay some part of their care through deductibles and co-insurance depending on their income.
Medicare part B: helps pay for doctor’s services, Home health care, Durable medical equipment, some preventive care and outpatient care. Plan B generally requires a monthly premium with an annual deductible in addition to a 20 percent co-pay.
Medicare part C: Medicare Advantage (Part C) combines Parts A, B benefits and usually D. If you have Parts A and B, you can join a Medicare Advantage plan offered by a private company. Medicare Advantage can provide Medicare private fee-for-service plans, Medicare preferred provider organization plans and specialty plans.
Medicare part D: Part D is known as prescription drug coverage. Part D is supplemental coverage offered by private insurance companies to individuals already in Part A, B or C.
In order to enjoy the benefits of Part A or B, you must first enroll through the Social Security Department at www.socialsecurity.gov. Once you have enrolled, they will send you a Medicare packet and card. You may apply for Medicare three months before your 65th birthday. Even if you have not retired at age 65, you should still sign up for Part A. If you choose at a later point to sign up for Part B and/or Part A and do not qualify for a delay, you may pay higher premiums for the remainder of your life. As you near age 65, your mailbox will overflow with Medicare information and solicitations making your choice of the correct plan more overwhelming. Narrowing down which Plans will best fit your needs involves planning so that you don’t get stuck with a plan that leaves large gaps in your coverage- and your wallet. A qualified Broker can help you find the right plan. Don’t wait until it’s too late.