Call (916) 470-9972 to speak with an agent. (TTY 711 M-SU, 8am-8pm)

Call (916) 470-9972 to speak with an agent. (TTY 711 M-SU, 8am-8pm)

9 Medicare Basics You Need to Know

Posted by James Dills, August 23, 2017

Most of us don’t think much about Medicare until it becomes time to sign up for the program. At that point, we realize that Medicare is not only an enormous, complicated government program; it is actually split into several different parts! As the Annual Enrollment period approaches, make sure you know these nine basic facts about Medicare.

There are two parts. Medicare Part A offers coverage for hospitalization. Part B is aimed at the cost of doctor visits.

Medicare doesn’t cover everything. If you enroll in Part A and Part B, you might need supplemental coverage for other expenses.

Medicare Part D offers prescription drug coverage. This is something you should seriously consider if you use any medications regularly, or as you get older and the odds of needing medication increase.

Medicare Part C combines Part A and Part B. Also known as Medicare Advantage plans, Part C plans combine the benefits of the other two primary forms of Medicare. Some of these policies also include Part D coverage, rolling everything into one plan.

Costs vary depending upon where you live. Medicare Part A and Part B cost the same almost everywhere, but premiums for Advantage (Part C) and Part D plans can vary significantly across different geographic regions.

Enroll in Medicare on time. You become eligible for Medicare when you turn 65, but you can begin the enrollment process three months before that birthday. But you must sign up within four months after you turn 65. If you miss that deadline, your Medicare premiums will be permanently higher.  Also, you can qualify/become eligible for Medicare before you turn 65 if you have certain disabilities.

Your plan’s coverage details can change. From time to time, plan administrators make changes to Medicare policies. If your plan is due for any changes, you will receive a notice in the mail prior to Annual Enrollment in the fall.

Your plan is not permanent. During the annual enrollment period, from October 15 to December 7 each year, you can switch into a different Medicare plan or add a supplemental plan if you wish. If you do nothing, you will be automatically re-enrolled into your current plan.

You should seek help. Researching different Medicare plans can be a complicated process. Give us a call and we can help you compare your options, and choose the plan or plans that best suit your needs.

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