Signing up for Medicare can be confusing. We want to help.
Here are 10 things you should know to get you started.
1) Medicare consists of several different components
- Part A: hospital coverage
- Part B: medical coverage
- Part C: Medicare Advantage
- Part D: prescription drug coverage
- Medicare supplement (also known as Medigap)
2) Medicare Part A is generally available at no charge to you
- as long as you worked at least 40 quarters during your years of employment.
3) Standard Medicare Part B premium is $135.50 per month
- but certain high-income earners may have an income-related monthly adjustment amount.
- Medicare Advantage, Prescription Drug Plans, and Medicare Supplement plans carry their own additional costs, as well.
4) The seven-month initial enrollment period for Medicare Part A and Part B begins three months before the month you turn 65
- and ends three months after your birthday month.
- To ensure coverage starts by the time you turn 65, we encourage signing up in the first three months.
5) There can be lifetime penalties for late enrollment in Part B and Part D, so it is important to understand how and when you need to apply.
6) If you are already receiving Social Security benefits, you will be automatically enrolled in Part A and Part B.
- You can choose to opt out of Part B if, for example, you will continue coverage through your employer.
7) Those who have not started their monthly income benefit can sign up for Medicare Part A and Part B through the Social Security Administration.
- Apply online at www.socialsecurity.gov, find a local office at www.ssa.gov/locator
- or call Social Security at 800-772-1213
- Need additional help? Give Rummel Agency a call at 989-652-6104
8) When you are covered by a group health plan, you may be able to delay enrollment in both Medicare Part A and Part B.
- If your employer has 20 or more employees, check with your benefits manager to determine how the IRS defines your group health plan.
- If your employer has fewer than 20 employees, you will want to sign up for Part A and Part B when you first become eligible.
9) Once you are enrolled in Part A and Part B, there are two ways through private insurers that most people will receive additional coverage:
- Medicare Advantage – or –
- Medicare Supplement + standalone Prescription Drug Plan
Most Medicare Advantage plans include prescription drug coverage, and may also include additional vision, dental, and hearing benefits. You do not need a Medicare Supplement if you join a Medicare Advantage plan, and vice versa.
10) In addition to cost, below are three questions to consider that can help determine which plan best matches your needs and priorities:
- Are you taking expensive prescription drugs frequently?
- Are your doctors and providers in the network of your desired plan?
- Do you travel regularly, either domestically or internationally?
Signing up for Medicare can be confusing. To learn more about transitioning to Medicare, and to evaluate your individual Medicare plan options, call us today at 989-652-6104.