Medicare offers health coverage for millions of Americans. However, the process of transitioning can be intimidating. We get many calls from people worried that they don’t know enough about Medicare to transition properly. If you are gearing up to sign up for Medicare and wondering what to expect, here are some of the things you should know before enrolling in Medicare so that you can feel confident with your health plan.
Initial Enrollment Period
You qualify for Medicare when you turn 65, but you can enroll three months before your 65th birthday. This is known as the Initial Enrollment Period, which also extends to three months after your 65th birthday, giving you a total of seven months to sign up. This is up to you to remember, especially if you are not automatically enrolled because Medicare will not notify you when this period begins.
Medicare Comes with a Cost
Medicare is divided into four parts: Part A, B, C, and D. Medicare Part A covers inpatient services. If you do not qualify for premium-free Part A, you’ll pay a premium. Part B pays for outpatient services, doctor visits, and comes with a monthly price premium of $144.60/month.
Medicare Part C and D both have a monthly premium that varies depending on your preferred plan. Part C, which consists of the same coverage as Part A and B, including additional benefits, can have a premium as low as $0. The average premium of Part D, which covers prescription drugs, is about $10 to $15 in most states.
In addition to the premium costs, you may need to pay deductibles, copayments, and other out-of-pocket costs.
You’ll Have to Pay Penalties for Missing Enrollment
Those that miss the Initial Enrollment Period can still enroll in a Medicare plan during the General Enrollment Period, which starts January 1 and ends March 31 of every year. Those that sign up during the GEP will be eligible for Medicare coverage the following July.
Late Medicare enrollment penalties apply if you miss your Initial Enrollment Period. The penalty you pay depends on the part you apply for. For instance, you may need to pay a penalty of 10 percent every 12 months you delay enrolling in Medicare Part B. In comparison, you pay 1 percent per month for missing Part D enrollment.
Medicare Doesn’t Cover Everything
While Medicare covers most of your healthcare, it typically doesn’t cover long-term care. Under certain conditions, especially after you have been hospitalized for an acute-care episode, Medicare will pay for medically necessary home health care or a skilled nursing facility.
However, Medicare typically doesn’t cover health costs for custodial care, which is the care that helps with daily living activities, like bathing and dressing. To cover these types of costs, you’ll have to rely on Medicaid, long-term care insurance, or savings.
At Turning 65 Solutions, we know that the Medicare process can be overwhelming, and finding the best coverage can be confusing. We are here to guide you through every step you need to take to choose the plans that work for you. Speak with one of our experienced Medicare experts today.