Medicare can seem complicated, much like deciphering a map. However, with key landmarks, clear signs, and a destination in mind, it becomes easier to navigate. To simplify things, we created this essential guide to help you on your journey.
Step 1: Understand the Essentials.
Medicare Part A: Your hospital coverage. It helps with inpatient hospital care, skilled nursing facilities, hospice care, and home health visits.
Medicare Part B: Your medical insurance. It covers doctor’s visits, outpatient care, medical supplies, and preventative visits.
Medicare Part C or Medicare Advantage: These plans are offered by private insurance providers and combine Part A and B. They often include extra benefits like prescription drug coverage, dental, vision, hearing, and many other benefits. These plans are in place of Medicare Supplement Plans.
Medicare Part D: If you need help with prescription drug costs, Part D plans are your answer, also provided by private insurance companies. These are used with Medicare Supplement Plans.
Step 2: Enrollment.
IEP: Initial Enrollment Period: The seven months you can enroll, typically starts three months before your 65th birthday.
OEP: Open Enrollment Period: If you miss your IEP, you can enroll during OEP, which runs from October 15 to December 7 each year. Your coverage will start in January.
SEP: Special Enrollment Period: You may qualify for SEP if you have other coverage; through your job, if you move, or other life events.
Step 3: Choose Your Plan.
Original Medicare (Parts A & B): Traditional Medicare coverage and you can add Part D for prescription drugs.
Medicare Advantage (Part C): These plans often include extra perks like dental and vision coverage. You’ll need to choose one that’s available in your area.
Medigap: AKA Medicare Supplement Insurance, it helps cover costs that Original Medicare doesn’t, such as deductibles and copayments.
Step 4: Resources and Assistance:
Medicare’s Official Website: Medicare.gov is your go-to resource for all things Medicare.
State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP): Find your local SHIP for personalized counseling and assistance.
Medicare Interactive: Medicare Interactive offers in-depth easy-to-understand information on Medicare topics.
Step 5: Stay Informed.
Medicare plans change! It’s important to stay informed about updates and open enrollment periods. Check in with the Medicare resources above and consider talking to a Medicare expert to ensure you get the coverage that’s right for you.
DeLong & Brower Financial Services has the right partner to help you, Buursma Agency. They have specialized in guiding individuals to find their best healthcare solution since 1964. Call (616) 394-0500 or email to take the first step.