Monday, May 23, 2011

Medicare, What to Do, When to Do It?

What to Do About Medicare and When to Do It!

Question:  I turn 65 soon. I have no idea what I’m supposed to do about Medicare or when I’m supposed to do it!

Answer: First, you automatically get Medicare Part A when you turn 65 so long as you or a spouse has earned enough work credits. Part A is the part of Medicare that pays for hospitalization. Next you have to decide if you need Medicare Part B. Medicare Part B pays for doctor visits and outpatient procedures. Basically it comes down to whether you have other qualifying insurance. For instance, if you have insurance from an employer you may not need Medicare Part B. In these situations you will not be penalized for failing to enroll in Medicare Part B when you reach age 65. Otherwise, you have 3 months before you turn 65 and 3 months after you turn 65 to enroll in Medicare Part B. You will receive a penalty for enrolling late once outside your initial enrollment. If you are receiving Social Security payments you will automatically be enrolled in Medicare Part B at age 65. If you have postponed receiving Social Security, you must contact the Social Security office (1-800-772-1213) to enroll in Medicare Part B or let them know you are delaying or declining enrollment.

Once you get Medicare Part A and B taken care of you have to decide how you will get your prescription coverage and if you need a supplement. You may have discovered that you get your prescription coverage through an employer group plan or through military service-related coverage. If not, you have the option of a stand-alone drug plan or some Medicare Advantage plans offer prescription coverage as part of their plan (you have the same 3 months before/3 months after your 65th birthday time frame to make this decision). Medicare and Medicare Advantage Plans do not cover 100% of all services. A Medicare Supplement picks up what original Medicare does not pay. You have several options when choosing prescription coverage and coverage for the GAPS left by Medicare A and B.

Here are two videos. One explains what Medicare is, the other explains details about Medicare Part D. Hope you find them helpful.

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