If you are heading toward that glorious time in life when you can punch the proverbial time card for the last time, you have a lot to think about to do so in security and comfort. Making sure you have the best health insurance as you lose your reliable work income is crucial, which means that Medicare is a vital part of any modern retirement plan.
Medicare is the federal government’s health insurance program for citizens 65 and older. If you’re going to turn 65 soon, it’s crucial to sign up for Medicare on time and make the most of the free and low-cost services Medicare has to offer.
It is always challenging to find the best health insurance plan and make it work to your benefit, and Medicare is no different. You need to learn what the plan requires and entails. Even with your “Medicare and You” handbook, which is probably on its way in the mail, you may still need some guidance. There are reasons you might not want to work with Medicare Advantage plans, however. One disadvantage of Medicare Advantage plans is that you have to stay within their network of doctors.
Here are three important basics of Medicare to help you navigate the system with ease and confidence.
1. Learning About Medicare
As a key program for millions of Americans approaching retirement, Medicare will become an essential tool in maintaining good health as you age. Everyone needs to consider optimal health insurance coverage as the body starts to break down in our golden years.
Here are a few tips to keep in mind when learning the basics of Medicare:
- Give yourself plenty of time to do your research
- Don’t expect to receive notification prodding you to sign up
- Enrol when you are supposed to
- Learn how any other insurance you have works with Medicare
- Don’t let any poor health conditions get in the way of applying for Medicare
- Keep in mind that Medicare is not free and that you will need to work it into your budget
- Remember that Medicare does not cover everything you may need like eye exams, acupuncture, hearing aids and cosmetic surgeries
- Medicare also doesn’t cover any type of long-term care like nursing homes, assisted living facilities or at-home care
- Know that Medicare does not cover family members
2. Understanding Eligibility Requirements
You may know that turning 65 is a basic requirement for applying for Medicare, but here are some other things you need to know as far as eligibility:
- Younger people with disabilities may also apply for Medicare
- Sufferers of end-stage renal disease (ESRD) are also eligible to apply
- Those with a spouse with Medicare-covered government employment may be eligible
Even if you or your spouse did not pay Medicare taxes while working, you might be able to buy a Medicare plan for Part A coverage if you are age 65 or older and are a citizen or permanent resident of the United States.
3. Relying on a Caring Health Insurance Carrier
You probably know about your health requirements better than anyone. Before you start assessing and comparing plans, you should make a list of prescription medication that’s essential for your health as well as a list of doctors you want to continue visiting once you’re on Medicare. Furthermore, your lifestyle also plays a key role in picking a suitable insurance plan. For instance, if you travel frequently or split time between different states, this will impact your Medicare plan.
As previously mentioned, medicare is not free. So you also need to take your finance into account to find Medicare you can afford.
You don’t have to navigate Medicare on your own completely. The system is complex, and most people should seek help, whether from a friend or health insurance advisor. One reason that Medicare causes confusion is that it is broken down into several parts:
- Part A covers hospital care, which may include hospice or skilled nursing services.
- Part B covers physician visits, including preventive care and outpatient care.
- Part C is also known as the Medicare Advantage plan and provides all of Part A and B benefits, as well as extra coverage such as vision and dental care.
- Part D covers prescription drugs.
Keep Doing Your Research
Life is imbued with impermanence and uncertainties. While you cannot predict any misfortune, health insurance is a reliable way to protect your health just in case something happens. Moreover, health problems are unavoidable as we get older. Instead of waiting for a disaster to strike, make sure you’re prepared with a good insurance plan that will also protect your finances.
It’s also important to note that the work is not done as soon as you set up your Medicare. Certain post-enrollment errors can cause unnecessary hassle.
For one, if you’re working past the age of 65, you would delay your Social Security benefits since you still have a working income. Because of this your Medicare provider can’t deduct Part B premium from your Social Security check and will instead send a quarterly invoice. But if you miss this Part B payment, your carrier will cancel your plan. You might think, how difficult is it to reverse this error of non-payment? Well, it’s extremely time-consuming and can leave you without Part B coverage for up to 15 months. This implies any doctor’s visits, surgeries and other outpatient services can rack up medical bills worth thousands of dollars. It would be best to set up a bank draft to ensure you never accidently overlook a Part B payment.
When you leave a job, your employer has to clearly inform Medicare. But failure to do so can be calamitous for you. If Medicare is not notified that you are no longer working, they will deny any claims as in their records your employer is still responsible for your primary insurance. To avoid such a mistake, get in touch with Medicare to make sure they’re your primary insurance.
To get the most out of your Medicare benefits, you need to stay up-to-date on the system and your specific plan. Getting some help from a reliable health insurance provider can save time and money by breaking down all the ins and outs for you for the duration of your policy.