The fall is a crucial time of year when it comes to your Medicare plan. Your plan can change from year to year, and your healthcare needs may change with time, so it is important to review your Medicare plan annually. If you are new to Medicare, you can use the tips in this Medicare sign-up guide to help you get started and learn how to manage your plan from year to year.
At SeniorSmart, we realize that choosing the right Medicare plan can be somewhat confusing with all of the different coverage options available. Our members enjoy the support and advice they receive for Medicare sign-up and annual plan reviews. Call us today at 205.460.1124 to learn more about how we can help guide you through the Medicare process.
Getting Started: Your Medicare Sign-Up Guide
There are a few things to know before you sign up for a Medicare plan:
- If you are receiving Social Security benefits, the Social Security Administration will automatically sign you up for Medicare Parts A and B.
- If you are not receiving Social Security before the age of 65, you will need to sign yourself up for Medicare.
- You can only sign up for a plan or make changes to a Medicare plan at certain times of the year.
- Medicare Part A provides hospital coverage. Most people receive Part A for free if they paid Medicare taxes for a certain length of time. Otherwise, you can buy Part A out of pocket.
- Medicare Part B provides medical coverage. It comes with a standard premium along with an additional cost if your modified adjusted gross income is above a certain amount. Part B is optional, but you may incur a penalty if you sign up for it at a later date.
- Medicare Part D provides prescription drug coverage, and the cost varies by plan.
There are two easy ways to sign up for Medicare. If you are over 65 or turning 65 within the next three months:
- Visit the Social Security Administration website for Medicare sign up without Social Security benefits.
- Call the Social Security Administration to enroll in Medicare over the phone.
Medicare Supplement Guide
To help fill the gaps in original Medicare coverage, you can purchase a Medicare Supplement Insurance (Medigap) policy. Here is some helpful information about Medigap policies:
- These cover some of the costs not covered by an original Medicare plan, such as deductibles, copayments, and coinsurance.
- You must have Medicare Parts A and B to purchase a Medigap policy.
- Medigap is only available as an individual policy, so you and your spouse need to purchase separate policies.
How to Review Your Medicare Plan
Open enrollment for Medicare runs each year from October 15th through December 7th. During this period, you may make changes to your plan to accommodate any changes in your healthcare needs. To review your Medicare plan, you have several options:
- Be on the lookout for notices about your plan, such as the Annual Notice of Change letter that may arrive in September or October. These notices will notify you of changes to your current plan that may make you want to switch to another plan for the following year.
- Visit the Medicare website to pull up your account and review your current coverage and compare your options.
- Read through your “Medicare & You” handbook to browse through plan options.
If you feel overwhelmed by the options, you can reach out to SeniorSmart for health insurance advice and counseling. We can help you evaluate your current healthcare needs and match you up with the right plan.
SeniorSmart: Providing Medicare Guidance for Seniors
Navigating the Medicare landscape can be confusing. At SeniorSmart, we provide our members with helpful resources, including a Medicare supplement guide, sign-up guide, and personalized guidance from our experienced retirement planners. Call us today at 205.460.1124 for help choosing the right Medicare plan for you.