Medicare is a health insurance program provided by the federal government for people age 65 and older or people with certain disabilities including End Stage Renal Disease. Medicare helps cover the cost of many health care expenses, but it does not cover all medical expenses or the cost of most long-term care services.
Medicare coverage is made up of several parts to fit specific needs:
- Original Medicare (Parts A and B) covers hospital and medical expenses.
- Medicare Advantage (Part C) is an alternative to Original Medicare offered by private insurance carriers. Part C takes the place of Original Medicare and generally has options for prescription drug coverage. Many of these plans may include extra benefits such as vision, dental, and hearing.
- Medicare Supplement plans (Medigap) are offered by private insurance companies. The plans work with Medicare as a secondary insurance policy. These plans can help pay some of the out-of-pocket costs that Medicare does not pay for with Medicare A and B. This includes deductibles, copayments and coinsurance. Supplements do not include a Part D prescription drug plan.
- Medicare Cost plans are a type of health plan that is only offered in some parts of the country. These plans are offered by private insurance companies. Depending on the company, they may or may not include Part D prescription drug coverage.
- Medicare Prescription Drug Plans (Part D) adds prescription drug coverage to Original Medicare. These plans are offered by insurance companies approved by Medicare. They can be either be purchased as a standalone product or it may be included in your Medicare Advantage plan.
How you get access to affordable health care is one of the most important decisions you’ll make as you look forward to retirement. It can impact your finances, your quality of life and even how your family and other caregivers can help you with your health needs in the years to come. It’s important to understand these options before making a decision.
You can sign up for Parts A and B during a seven month period and starts three months before the month you turn 65, including the month you turn 65, and ends three months after the month you turn 65. For example, if your birthday is July 22, you can apply from April 1 through Oct. 31.
If you miss your initial enrollment period, you can sign up during the General Enrollment Period but you may have to pay a higher premium for late enrollment. The General Enrollment Period is from Jan. 1 through March 31 each year.
Contact us by phone if you would like more information regarding your Medicare options.