By Tamia R. Banks, HSM BA, LPN, CMCN, Senior Solutions Broker
Doesn’t Medicare remind you of Alphabet soup? There’s A, B, C, and D. Then you may hear some talking about supplemental plans A, B, D, G, K, L, M, N, and F for those that are eligible—it’s just confusing. Being able to sit down with someone can help put things in better perspective.
Original or Traditional Medicare includes Parts A and B only. It’s provided by the federal government. Part A covers inpatient services such as hospital stays, inpatient care, skilled nursing, and some hospice. Part B covers outpatient services such as doctors’ visits, inpatient and outpatient services, labs, DME, etc. You can enroll on SSA.gov three months prior to turning 65, the month of your birthday, or 3 three months after turning 65. If you are still working you can postpone Part B. But to avoid any potential penalties you should discuss with a Medicare expert.
Offered by private companies is Part C “most commonly known” as Medicare Advantage Plans. You will need to be already enrolled in both parts A and B in order to get enrolled in these plans. Some of these plans cost as little as $0, includes prescription drug coverage, dental, and vision.
Offered also by private companies is Part D which helps cover cost of prescription drugs only. You will need a drug plan to avoid penalties.
Medicare Supplement Insurance Plans (Medi-Gap) are also offered by private companies. You will need to be already enrolled into both parts A and B to purchase. These plans help pay some of the out-of-pocket costs that come with Original Medicare. You will need to purchase a stand-alone drug plan with a Medicare Supplement Plan.
As you can see from the many letters from the alphabet, television commercials, discussion with family and friends, and much more, Medicare can be very complicated. It definitely is not a one all fits all. There are costs that come with each. You need to know what covers what, if deductibles apply, and which plan best fits you.
So, if you are turning 65 soon or know of someone who is, this article should help. Don’t be late. To avoid penalties, you can enroll three months before turning 65, the month of, or three months after. You should know what could potentially happen if you wait and not enroll three months prior to turning 65. Call a Medicare or Social Security expert if you don’t know the risk. They can help guide you and to help with understanding Medicare.
For more information, contact Medical Reimbursement & Management Services, Inc., focusing on the issues of Older Americans: legal, financial, free guidance for residential placement, and healthcare issues. Call: 309-693-1060. Website: www.MRMS-INC.COM. Location: 809 W. Detweiller Dr., Peoria, IL 61615.
For additional informative and inspirational articles, visit 50 Plus News and Views Greater Peoria Area online edition.