You’ve heard plenty about Medicare over the years, but if you’re about to turn 65, chances are you could do with a refresher.
So here goes—with hats off to any readers out there turning 65!
What’s the big deal about turning 65?
That’s the age when most Americans become eligible for Medicare. Some people are eligible earlier due to disability or end-stage renal disease, but for most Americans Medicare coverage begins at age 65.
If, like the majority of Americans, you become eligible for Medicare at 65, your initial enrollment period begins three months before the month you turn 65 and ends three months after the month you turn 65. If you enroll during the first three months of your initial enrollment period, your coverage should begin the first day of your birthday month. If your birthday falls on the first of the month, coverage should begin on the first of the previous month.
Waiting to enroll until after the first three months of your initial enrollment period have passed may cause your start date to be delayed, so it’s best to enroll well before your 65th birthday if possible.
How do I know how to sign up for Medicare?
It’s simple to sign up for Medicare online.
Your initial enrollment signs you up for Original Medicare (Medicare Part A and Medicare Part B), which provides the foundation of your Medicare coverage. Medicare Part A helps cover hospital costs, while Medicare Part B normally pays 80% of the cost of covered medical expenses. Although your initial enrollment signs you up for Medicare Part A and Medicare Part B, some people decide not to keep Part B coverage. If you’re considering going without Part B, call MedicareMall toll-free at (877) 413-1556 and we’ll be glad to help you determine whether that’s a wise step.
During your initial enrollment period, you’ll also have the opportunity to consider other coverage options.
Medicare Supplement Plans
Although enrollment in a Medicare supplement (or Medigap) plan is purely voluntary, you need to be aware that Original Medicare was never designed to cover 100% of your medical care. Although Medicare costs have risen almost every year since the federal program’s inception in 1965, Medicare benefits have declined over the years in many areas. As a result, there are real gaps in Medicare coverage and many people choose Medicare supplement insurance plans and the security they can provide by filling the gaps in Original Medicare coverage.
Medicare supplement plans are sold by private insurance companies to people already enrolled in Medicare Parts A and B, and the right plan can save you a lot of money in the short run and especially in the long run by keeping your out-of-pocket healthcare costs to a minimum.
It’s important to shop the market, though, before selecting a Medicare supplement plan. That’s because, even though insurance companies offering the same Medigap plans have to offer the same benefits, companies are free to apply their own pricing and underwriting practices. This means two companies, or five, or ten, can charge very different prices for exactly the same coverage. Fortunately, nobody shops the market better on your behalf than the Medigap representatives at MedicareMall. Call toll-free (877) 413-1556 for a free quote.
Medicare Advantage Plans
Medicare Advantage (also called Medicare Part C) plans are optional Medicare plans offered by Medicare-approved private companies and available to people already enrolled in both Medicare Part A and Medicare Part B. Any Medicare Advantage plan you join will provide the equivalent of all your Medicare Part A and Part B coverage, and has to provide all the benefits covered by Original Medicare except hospice care.
Some Medicare Advantage plans provide additional coverage in various areas of health including dental, vision, and hearing, and most plans also include prescription drug coverage.
Though most Medicare Advantage plans require payment of a monthly premium, some Medicare Advantage plans are premium-free. As you consider your initial enrollment options, why not give MedicareMall a call to learn about Medicare Advantage plans available in your area?
Medicare Prescription Drug Plans (Medicare Part D)
Though prescription drug coverage is voluntary, anyone enrolled in Medicare Part A or Part B is eligible for enrollment in a prescription drug plan (or PDP). Prescription drug plans can be added to Original Medicare or provided through Medicare Advantage plans. Medicare Part D prescription drug plans pay for prescriptions purchased at pharmacies, and Part D plans—despite concerns about out-of-pocket obligations during the donut hole phase of Part D coverage—help many Americans save money on prescriptions drugs year after year. Give MedicareMall a call today to learn about PDP options during your initial enrollment period.