Medicare plan is designed to cover the healthcare costs of people above 65 years/older or people under 65 years with disabilities/end-stage renal disease/amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). Signing up for Medicare is different from buying health insurance, as it has a specific time for enrollment. If you are a first-timer, you must know when you can sign up, how much its costs, what coverages you need, etc.
Here are some handy Medicare enrolling tips for first-time enrollees:
Know Your Initial Enrollment Period
The initial enrollment period (IEP) begins three months before you turn 65 and lasts for 7 months, counting:
- Three months before your 65th birthday
- Your birthday month
- After three months of your 65th birthday
During IEP, you can enroll in a Medicare plan online, over the phone, or at the Social Security office.
Remember, Social Security and Railroad Retirement beneficiaries will be automatically enrolled in Medicare Part A and Part B coverages once they turn 65. They can use the IEP to sign up for additional coverages if required, such as Medicare Part C and Part D.
Determine Whether You Can Delay Signing-Up for Medicare
You can delay enrolling in a Medicare plan despite turning 65 if you have health insurance through your employer or your partner’s employer.
However, if your employer coverage ends and you don’t qualify for a special enrollment period (it includes 8 months, and begins when you retire or lose employer coverage, whichever comes first), you have to pay penalties for late enrollment.
Consider the Ways You Can Receive Medicare Benefits
You can get Medicare Part A and Part B benefits through:
- Original Medicare – A Federal Government-Sponsored program.
- Medicare Advantage Plan – Provided by private insurance companies, it covers all the benefits of Original Medicare and also offers additional coverages for prescription drugs and hearing, vision, and dental care.
Decide What Coverages You Need
Original Medicare (Part A and Part B) [M1] pays for hospital expenses, surgery/treatment, doctor fees, lab tests, and outpatient care. It won’t cover drugs, dental care, fitness, hearing/eye health, etc.
If you need coverage for all of these, you must buy a Medicare Advantage plan. If you need coverage for prescription drugs alone, you can either buy Medicare Part D or Advantage plan, whichever that suits you.
Calculate Your Medicare Expenses
Medicare expenses include premiums, coinsurance, deductibles, and co-pays. However, how much all these costs annually depend on the type of plan you choose and the healthcare services you use. Estimate expenses for various plans to determine the affordable one.
Remember, the annual out-of-pocket expenses for the Medicare Advantage plan are based on the annual out-of-pocket maximum, and each plan has its own out-of-pocket maximum. Once you reach the maximum, your plan will fully cover all services. Original Medicare and Part D do not provide this.
If you are turning 65, consider signing up for a Medicare plan. With these tips, you can decide when you should sign up and when you should not and how to avoid penalties.
Contact Medicare Advisors for More Insights About Medicare Sign-up
If you want to learn more about the Medicare sign-up process or have any questions concerning the coverage, contact us today at Medicare Advisors. Our advisors will provide you with the best product knowledge and resources to make informed decisions.