When describing Medicare, a lot of seniors claim the process is frustrating and confusing. This mostly stems from the many options and decisions that come with this federally-backed program. Medicare is a federal healthcare program that helps seniors gain access to affordable healthcare in their retirement, but that doesn’t mean this system is simple.
There are a lot of things you need to know about Medicare to maximize your coverage and benefits before you apply. Learn these 5 things below to navigate through Medicare with confidence.
1. After 65, Medicare Is Your Primary Insurer
Even if you have another form of insurance, Medicare becomes your primary insurer once you turn 65. Today, the average age of retirement is 62 years old in the United States, but many seniors are choosing to keep working longer for a number of reasons.
If you have retiree health insurance or individual health insurance, these are all considered your secondary insurer after Medicare. The only exception to this is employer-sponsored insurance which you are welcome to keep. However, once you’ve lost these benefits after leaving your job, you’ll need to enroll in Medicare promptly.
2. Medicare Advantage Is More Flexible
If you’re worried about the cost and benefits of Medicare, you might want to consider Medicare Advantage. Unlike “original” Medicare, Medicare Advantage, also known as Medicare Part C, is through a private insurance provider. There are limits to the doctors you can see, but you’ll pay less for in-network providers.
With a Medicare Advantage plan, you’ll likely pay less in premiums or out-of-pocket expenses, and you might have access to more benefits. It’s a great option if you want to consider a wide array of benefits at different price points. By visiting this website you will discover how Medicare Advantage can work for you.
3. There Are Penalties For Late Enrollment
Your enrollment window begins 3 months before your 65th birthday and ends 3 months after. You can still sign up for Medicare during the general enrollment period, but you’ll face a penality if you miss your initial window.
These penalties can be steep depending on the part of Medicare you apply for. You might have to pay 10% for every 12 months you delay or 1% per month. These fees add up, so make sure you make your enrollment window on the calendar.
4. Medicare Is Not A Family Plan
A lot of new Medicare enrollees make the mistake of thinking Medicare functions as a family plan. Unlike traditional employer-sponsored insurance, Medicare is not a family plan. It’s an individual plan only, and each member of your family will need to apply for his or her own plan separately. It does not cover spouses or dependants.
5. You Might Need Supplemental Plans
Medicare doesn’t cover all types of treatments and services. There are many gaps in coverage, and you can fill these gaps with what’s known as Medigap. Medigap policies are supplemental plans that help cover things like coinsurance, co-payments, and deductibles.
They can also pay for services that might not be covered like dental, hearing, and long-term living assistance. If you’re choosing Medicare Advantage coverage, you might have some forms of supplemental plans covered within your current plan.
Medicare can sometimes feel complex, but it’s much simpler once you break it into smaller parts. As long as you’re careful about enrolling in Medicare on time and choosing the right coverage for your own needs, you’ll make the most of this federal program.
Whether you choose a plan through Medicare Advantage or original Medicare, make sure you know these 5 things above. They’ll set you up for success with this program.