Are you one of the approximately 10,000 American Baby Boomers who will turn 65 each day over the next 15 years? If so, you will find it necessary to navigate the many issues related to the Medicare program, and many find that a daunting task. Studies show there is a great deal of ignorance and numerous misconceptions about Medicare. However, taking time to understand the complexities of this benefit you have paid for over decades can save you many thousands of dollars. Discussed here are just a few of the more important points to understand as you start your study of how Medicare will affect your future health care.
Medicare for Beginners
If you are nearing your 65th birthday, there are a number of websites, booklets and other materials that provide a great deal of helpful information. In fact, a number of private insurers sell Medicare plans that supplement the basic program and are willing to send agents to explain these details. However, even this information is overwhelming for many, so here are 5 things you need to know before you start your research.
- Medicare consists of four different parts, Hospital Insurance (Part A), Medical Insurance (Part B), Medicare Advantage (Part C), and Prescription Drug Insurance (Part D).
- If you are already receiving Social Security benefits when you reach your 65th birthday, you will automatically be enrolled in Medicare Part A and Part B. If you haven't started your Social Security, you will have to take steps to enroll in the program.
- Medicare is not a standard package treating everyone the same. The reality is that there are a number of options and choices you will make, each of them having a potentially major impact on your medical benefits. For example, selecting among various Medicare plans will determine your co-pay exposure and costs for various medications.
- Your Medicare coverage is a secondary payer if you are covered by a group health insurance plan or entitled to other benefits, such as veterans or workers' compensation. This distinction may play a role in which hospitals and healthcare providers you can utilize.
- Medicare is not without charges and fees. For example Part B is paid for by you with monthly deductions. As of January 1, 2013, this coverage for such things as physicians and home health services not covered by Part A, costs a minimum of $104.90 a month.
In addition to these facts, it is important to understand the requirement to deal with your Medicare enrollment within three months before or after you turn 65. Failure to do so can result in penalties and annual costs that you might pay for the rest of your life.
Medicare is a real benefit to millions of Americans, but it is a program that requires a lot of study and the assistance of informed and experienced advisers. Contact a company like Fiscal Fitness for help.