Tuesday, September 7, 2021

Are You Aging into Medicare? Read This

Aging into Medicare opens you to a wide variety of great benefits and money savings. 

If you are already receiving Social Security, when you turning 65, you will be automatically enrolled in Medicare Part A if you have earned 40 credits through payroll taxes while working. If not, go to the Medicare web site or visit your local Social Security office either three months before your birthday month, on your birthday month, or no later than three months after your birthday month. This is your eligibility window.

Medicare Part A covers hospitalizations, blood transfusions during hospitalization, home health care, hospice care, and stays in skilled nursing facilities.

With regards to Medicare Part B, you do not need any work credits to qualify for Part B. However, if you don't sign up during your eligibility window, but then decide to enroll later, your premium goes up 10% for each 12 month period.   As an example, if you wait five years to sign up, your premium would then be 50% higher than someone who signed up on time.

If you have health insurance through your work or your spouse's work, you can delay enrolling in Part B. But if your employer has fewer than 20 workers or if you are on a company retirement plan, you must enroll in Part B as soon as you turn 65. Your workplace or retiree plan will become your secondary plan.

Remember that Part B Medicare which pays 80% of doctors, supplies, outpatient services, physical or speech therapy does not have a cap after the 80% is paid by Medicare.

Now, you also have an option of choosing Medicare Part C, which is commonly known as Medicare Advantage. These are managed care type plans which covers all your benefits under Part A and Part B, and often will cover your Part D Prescription benefit and may include dental, vision, physical fitness and transportation.  These plans usually have zero or minimum monthly premium and have a cap on how much you will pay out of pocket annually. They are comprehensive plans and I highly recommend that you choose one. 

You will need to check your prescription benefits every year because the list of covered drugs can change. Make a list of the medications you are taking, and check to see if they are covered under the plan you are considering.  

Leave your questions or comments below. Or, email me at bwillbar@gmail.com

Will Barnes, Medicare Consultant

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