Feel Lost When It Comes to Understanding Medicare? You Need to Read These Tips
If you’re having issues making sense of Medicare, you’re not alone. There are so many different Medicare parts, as well as supplemental plans and so many details to remember around exclusions and enrollment. So it makes sense that seniors need a little extra help figuring out which of these plans fits their health needs the best. If you feeling lost in your efforts to navigate Medicare, the following tips may help.
Know Which Plans Your State Offers
You already know that Medicare is a federal program that offers seniors priceless healthcare coverage. But you may not know that the kind of plans you are eligible for depends on your state of residency. This is especially helpful information if you plan on moving to a different state during your retirement because not all providers are available in every state. To make sense out of the state-by-state plans and policies, use an online Medicare guide that provides all the detailed information you need to make a smart decision. It may also help to have a detailed map of Medicare and senior services that each state offers. So if you need a little one-on-one help signing up or making changes, you will know exactly where to go.
Figure Out Your Key Enrollment Dates
Getting familiar with state coverages is a good way to begin your Medicare journey. But one of the most important details you need to know is when you can enroll. If you are not quite 65 and are simply planning ahead, you can enroll in Medicare anytime during the three months before or the three months after your 65th birthday, and if you have a qualifying life event you may be eligible for a special enrollment period. Other than these two special circumstances, you will need to mark your calendars so that you can make changes or enroll in coverage during the annual Open Enrollment Period (OEP). The only coverage you can add at any time during the year is any supplemental Medicare coverage.
Consider Medigap and Supplements During IEP
Penciling in the crucial enrollment dates above is a smart move, but you should take a few extra steps to be fully prepared for the Initial Enrollment Period (IEP). So if you’re reading this before you are eligible for Medicare coverage, you may have more control over the kind of medical care you receive in the future. That’s because many seniors fail to realize the importance of adding Medigap and supplemental coverage during this initial enrollment. While Medicare itself cannot deny you coverage for pre-existing conditions, supplemental plan providers can. So if you find yourself with a chronic illness or chronic pain in the future, and you want to see specific specialists, you could be left footing the bill for those services yourself. Although it’s always wise to factor some medical costs into your retirement plans, it helps to save whenever and wherever you can.
Get Acquainted With All Medicare Parts and Plans
Hopefully, by now, you have a better understanding of your key enrollment dates and state coverages. Which means it’s time to dig into the actual plans and parts of Medicare. In terms of parts, Medicare is made up of Parts A,B,C and D. The simplest way to break this down is to know that Part A pays for hospital bills, Part B covers your medical care, and Part D offers prescription drug benefits. Part C refers to the various Medicare Advantage plans you can choose from. Because none of these parts offers completely comprehensive care coverage, many seniors also elect supplemental coverage to help offset healthcare expenses. You can use your supplemental coverage, depending on what kind of plan you get, to pay for things like copays and certain out-of-pocket medical costs.
There aren’t too many shortcuts when it comes to researching all of your Medicare options. But hopefully the tips above, as well as the included resources, will help you make better sense of it all. So be sure to bookmark this article so you can read through it a few times and make sure you fully understand Medicare coverages before it comes time to make your selections.