Guest Blog: Sharon Wagner | Senior Friendly Info | March 14, 2019
Medicare is a huge benefit for seniors, but it often comes with many questions that lead to confusion. There are so many different parts, deadlines, and rules that come along with coverage that many seniors find themselves at a loss when it’s time to sign up, and this can cause havoc at doctor’s appointments or when a hospital stay is necessary. For seniors who want to remain independent and live in their own homes as long as possible, Medicare is essential in making sure they stay healthy, active, and vital.
The good news is, there are several things you can do after retirement to make the process easier. By researching Medicare and all its parts thoroughly before making any decisions on coverage, you can ensure that you’ll get the most out of your insurance plan no matter what your health needs are. You can also talk to a professional adviser to find out more about the plans.
Here are a few things to think about when it comes to your Medicare options:
Use all your resources
It’s essential to use all the resources at your disposal when it comes to choosing a Medicare plan. Check out the website for more information on what the plans entail and when the deadlines are; these days, there are many tools available online specifically geared toward seniors, so you know you’re getting the best information. Take a look at the sign-up dates as well as the details of an Advantage Plan, which will help you cover things like prescription medications, vision care, and dental care.
Know the differences
While most seniors receive Medicare Part A (which covers hospital stays) automatically for free after a certain age, Part B (medical coverage) typically comes with a premium and you must be enrolled once you reach the age of 65. You only have a specific window in which to elect for coverage, so it’s imperative that you do some research on the website to make sure you can sign up; otherwise, you’ll have to wait until the open enrollment period and you may pay a penalty.
Consider a supplement
For people who qualify, Medicare offers supplemental coverage that will help pay for any costs that Parts A and B won’t cover. Sometimes called Medigap, this private insurance plan requires a premium that will vary according to which state you live in, so it’s a good idea to look around before making a final decision.
Another option is an Advantage Plan, which may be more cost-effective for you than Medigap. When it comes to surgeries, prescriptions, and X-rays, your regular Medicare plan may not cover the costs, and this is when it really pays to have supplemental coverage.
Talk to your doctors
While most doctors and healthcare providers accept some forms of Medicare, there are certain exceptions. It’s important to talk to your doctors to make sure they accept your plan, even if you have an existing plan and are just making changes to it. Those changes may alter your out-of-pocket expenses or your copay requirements, and you don’t want to be faced with a nasty surprise the next time you have to go in for a checkup.
Medicare is a necessity for many seniors across the U.S., so it’s important to do all you can to get through the new changes, rules, and regulations so you can better understand what you’ll be facing and how much you’ll be responsible for should you become ill or injured. Planning now will go a long way toward helping you be prepared for the future.