If you’re getting close to retirement, you are probably thinking about a lot of things. At the top of the list could be financial issues, hobbies you want to explore, and whether you want to move. While these are all great things to focus on, you’ll need to consider one other important thing: your health insurance. This includes Medicare and Medicare supplement issues.
Enrollment in Medicare
Once you are no longer in the workforce, you probably won’t have insurance coverage. That’s when Medicare comes in. This will ensure that the expenses associated with your healthcare are covered. There are some things you’ll need to know about enrolling in Medicare:
1. Medicare Is Your Primary Insurer After You Turn 65
Even if you happen to have insurance through another provider or a COBRA plan, these are all considered secondary forms of insurance after you turn 65. Medicaid is considered your primary insurance. Thus, you’ll need to apply for this coverage and have it in place. Otherwise, you may be responsible for paying for medical expenses out of your own pocket.
If you are on Social Security, which you can start at the age of 62, you may automatically be enrolled in Medicare when you turn 65. It never hurts to double-check and make sure that you are enrolled when the time rolls around. This way, you can ensure that you are covered for any medical needs that might come up.
2. Apply As Soon As You Can
You have the ability to apply for Medicare 3 months before you turn 65. This is the best time to apply for this insurance so you can ensure that it is in place after your 65th birthday. Don’t wait to apply. Get this taken care of as soon as possible.
If you don’t sign up during your initial enrollment period, you can still get insurance, but you will have to pay penalties. This will also delay when you are covered. The general enrollment period for Medicare is from January 1 through March 31. The penalties you could incur include 10% for every 12 months that you don’t enroll or 1% per month.
3. Pick Your Plan Wisely
You have several options when it comes to Medicare coverage, including Part A, Part B, or Part C, also known as the Medicare Advantage Plan. You also have the option of getting prescription drug insurance. Which one is right for you will depend on your medical needs. There’s no right or wrong choice. However, if you want to get Medicare supplement insurance at some point, you can’t have Part C coverage.
Why You Might Need a Medicare Supplement
Medicare can be helpful when it comes to covering your medical expenses. It consists of several different parts, each of which cover a different aspect of medical care. For example, Part A covers your stay in a hospital, while Part B covers your outpatient expenses. Part D takes care of your prescription medications.
There are limits as to what these parts cover, which is why having a Medicare supplement can be helpful. Depending on the type of supplement you get, it can cover such things as deductibles, copays, and other expenses. This could reduce the amount of money you have to pay out of pocket and keep you from dipping into your retirement account.
Other Benefits of Medicare Supplement
In addition to helping you with expenses, there are other benefits to having a Medicare supplement, including the fact that you’ll be able to keep your medical care options open. You can customize your insurance plans to get the coverage you need to be happy and healthy.
This supplement is provided by a private insurance company, and it has no lifetime maximums, which helps you get coverage for any medical need that might arise. The insurance provider can’t drop your plan because you have a lot of claims or they are expensive. They also can’t charge your more for your premium, which often happens for people who are over 65. This allows you to find an affordable plan that works for you and covers your medical expenses.
Things to Consider When Getting a Medicare Supplement
If you are thinking about getting a Medicare supplement, there are some things you’ll need to consider. These will help you find the right plans so that your needs and expenses are taken care of.
The Insurance Plans Are Standardized
There are ten basic supplement plans that you can choose from. They are labeled from A through N, and each one covers something different. No matter which insurance company sells the plan, each plan has to offer the same basic benefits. This is true for every state in the U.S., with the exception of Massachusetts, Wisconsin, and Minnesota, which standardize the plans differently.
Even though the plans are standardized in most of the states, they aren’t priced the same. How much your premium is every month can vary from insurance company to insurance company. Thus, it can be beneficial to do some comparison shopping to find the plan that will give you the right coverage for the best price.
The Insurance Plans Don’t Cover Everything
Every one of the Medicare supplement plans covers something different. They will cover at least 50% up to 100% of Part A coinsurance, Part B coinsurance or copayment, the first 3 pints of blood you receive (if necessary), and Part A hospice copayment or coinsurance.
Some of the things the other plans cover include at least 50% of skilled nursing facility care coinsurance, the deductible for Part A and Part B, excess charges associated with Part B, and emergency medical coverage if you are traveling to a foreign country.
Knowing which supplement you’ll need will depend on personal preference and your medical needs. You’ll need to take the time to consider your health now and what it might be in the future. While you can’t predict what will happen later in life, having a plan in place that will cover unexpected occurrences will ensure that you don’t have to pay for expenses out of your retirement fund.
You Have to Meet Certain Criteria
When it comes to getting a Medicare supplement, there are certain criteria that you have to meet. The first is that you have to be 65 years of age and have Part A or Part B of Medicare in place. If you don’t already have one or both of these plans, you can’t get the supplement. Other things you’ll need to consider include:
- You have to be a resident of the state offering the plan
- The plan only covers one person
- These don’t cover prescription drugs
- You have to pay your premiums each month to the private insurance provider
- All policies can be renewed despite any changes in your health status
It was mentioned previously, but it is worth mentioning again. Every Medicare supplement plan comes with a cost. The more coverage you get, the more expensive the plan will be. Thus, you’ll need to take your budget and your needs into consideration when looking for the plan that will work best for you.
Your Choice of Hospital and Doctor
Not all hospitals and doctors may take Medicare or a Medicare supplement. Thus, before choosing a plan, you might want to find out if your preferred medical providers will take this as payment. If not, you may have to find a new provider or go with another type of insurance.
Quality of Care
Not all medical providers are created equally, so this is a good time to consider whether or not you are truly happy with your medical care. If you’re not, then look for another provider who will accept this insurance and will make you feel better. Depending on your health, you may find that you have to go to the doctor quite often. Make sure you are comfortable with the doctor and satisfied with the services you receive.
A lot of people decide that they want to travel after they retire. This may be your only opportunity to get out and see the world. While you are enjoying the sights, be aware that a medical emergency might arise. If it does, how will it get paid for? If you have certain Medicare supplement plans, they may cover the costs for you.
Getting the Right Plan
As you get closer to retirement, you probably have a lot of things on your mind. Most of them might be about how you are going to spend your free time and how to arrange your finances, but you also need to dedicate a moment to think about your health and insurance. Having the right Medicare supplement could make a huge difference in how much you pay for medical expenses.
If you have questions or are ready to pick a plan, then contact Senior Solutions Group today. They can help you through the process and find the supplement that will cover your needs at a price you can afford.