25 Sep Medicare Basics
Medicare is the federal health insurance program for people who are 65 or older, certain people under 65 with disabilities, and people of any age with End-Stage Renal Disease (ESRD).
So if you’re turning 65 how do you go about getting started with Medicare? First of all you can sign up for Medicare through Social Security. If you are not already getting benefits from Social Security you will need to sign up to get Medicare Part A (Hospital Insurance) and Part B (Medical Insurance). It will not automatically happen.
Your first chance to enroll in Medicare usually starts 3 months before you turn 65 and ends 3 months after you turn 65. It is very important that you enroll during this time frame because getting enrolled late can mean lifetime premium penalties and delays in when your coverage can start. If you already get benefits from Social Security, you’ll get Medicare Part A and Part B automatically when you are eligible and do not need to sign up.
Next you will need to make a decision on what coverage options you need. You will receive a lot of information to help you make a decision from your “welcome packet” from Medicare. The three main parts of Medicare are:
Medicare Part A (Hospital Insurance) which covers inpatient hospital stays, care in a skilled nursing facility, hospice care, and some home health care.
Medicare Part B (Medical Insurance) covers certain doctors’ services, outpatient care, medical supplies, and preventive services.
Medicare Part D is prescription drug coverage.
There are 2 main ways to get Medicare coverage.
Original Medicare. This includes Part A and Part B. You can add Part D or a Medigap policy to this original plan as well.
Medicare Advantage. This is an “all in one” alternative to Original Medicare. These “bundled” plans include Part A, Part B and most times Part D. Most of these plans also add extra benefits like vision, hearing and dental.
This is a very general outline of Medicare plans and choices. For more information take a look at the official Medicare website at www.medicare.gov. Then give The VanDyke Group a call and we can help in reviewing your needs, exploring the many options, and choosing the coverage that’s best for you.