Turning 65 can feel a little intimidating these days. It’s the age at which you qualify for Medicare insurance, and many people are clueless about what to do.
Determine Which Parts You Need
Medicare insurance has 4 parts but only two of those Parts make up the foundation of your coverage. Part A delivers your inpatient hospital benefits. Part B provides your outpatient medical benefits. These together make up your Original Medicare benefits.
If you have no other insurance or if you have coverage from a small employer, then you need both A and B because your Medicare will be your primary coverage. You can also add Part D if you need prescription drug coverage. Part D is optional, but there are penalties for late enrollment. It’s wise to enroll in one if you have no other means of drug coverage.
However, if you work for an employer with 20 or more employees, your group coverage will be primary to Medicare insurance. In this event, you may only need Part A. Medicare Part A doesn’t cost anything if you or your spouse have worked at least ten years in the United States. When you enroll in Part A, it can coordinate with your employer coverage and may help reduce your hospital spending if you have an inpatient stay.
Most people with large employer coverage delay Part B until they later retire. This is because Part B has a monthly premium. Since your employer coverage already has outpatient benefits, it’s generally not necessary for you to spend money on Part B until you later retire. Your employer coverage is creditable so that you won’t pay a penalty later on when you retire and enroll in Part B.
Enroll Online to Save Time and Hassle
The days of having to drive down to your local Social Security office and wait in line to enroll in Medicare gone. While you certainly can still enroll in person, there’s a much easier way. Simply visit the Social Security website where you can find a short and simple Medicare application. You do not have to be taking Social Security income benefits to apply for Medicare.
Educate Yourself on Supplemental Options
If Medicare insurance will be your primary coverage, you’ll want to enroll in some supplemental coverage. Medicare has deductibles that you must pay, and after that it only pays for 80% of your Part B medical expenses. Something like a simple day surgery could cost your hundreds, and serious illnesses might cost thousands with additional coverage.
Medicare Supplement plans fill in these gaps. With a Medicare supplement, you can see any doctor that takes Original Medicare. Medicare will pay its part, and then your supplement company will pay some or all of the rest, depending on which plans you choose. The plans are standardized by the federal government to make it easy for you to compare plans.
Plans F and G are the most comprehensive, leaving you with very little out of pocket.
If the cost for a Medicare Supplement is more than you can afford, then you can look into Medicare Advantage plans. These plans are private health insurance plans that pay instead of Medicare. These plans have networks of doctors and hospitals that you will use for your care. Premiums are lower for these plans than for Medicare Supplements, and you’ll pay copays on the back end as you go along.
Find Out Which Coverage Your Doctor Accepts
Since Medicare Advantage plans have networks, it’s important that you check with your doctors before enrolling in supplemental coverage. Ask your doctor if he or she participates in Original Medicare. If yes, then you can enroll in any Medicare supplement and be able to see your doctor.
Then ask your doctor if she or she participates in any Medicare Advantage plans. Remember that Advantage plans have networks, so if you want to consider one, you first need to find out if your doctor accepts that plan.
Take Advantage of your Open Enrollment Period
Now you’ve narrowed down your options, it’s time to enroll. If you have chosen to enroll in a Medicare supplement, make sure to apply during your open enrollment period. This is a six-month window that begins with your Part B effective date. Applying during this time will ensure you get accepted because companies cannot ask you any health questions during this window. You won’t have another chance for a guaranteed approval later on in most states, so it’s considered the best time to enroll.
Paying for Out-Of-Pocket Healthcare Costs
A life settlement is a smart potential method of paying for expensive healthcare costs. You can sell you life insurance policy to 3rd-party investors for a cash payment. This cash payout can be used for anything from medical treatments to a vacation home to paying your grandchildren’s college tuition. The investor pays the ongoing cost of the life insurance while you get added liquidity upfront. Learn more about selling your life insurance here.
For more tips on your Medicare enrollment, check out this post