Medicare Basics: 4 Things You Need to Know
When retirement comes calling, there’s a whole new set of challenges to tackle, and one of them is Medicare. Figuring out what Medicare covers and what parts of it you should enroll for can be daunting, even for the savviest of people. That’s why we’ve listed down a few Medicare basics that will help you navigate your way through this federal health insurance program.
Medicare Can Come with A Cost
Medicare is divided into 4 parts. Part A, which covers hospital services, is free if you’ve paid Medicare taxes for a minimum of 10 years. Part B, which pays for outpatient services and doctor visits, comes at a cost. Part D, which covers prescription drugs, also has a cost. In addition, you may also have to pay a deductible, co-pay, and a few other out-of-pocket costs.
You Can Get a Medigap Plan to Fill Medicare’s Coverage Gaps
People who have Medicare may want to opt for Medigap since it helps cover your out-of-pocket expenses. You can change your Medigap plan at any point in time, but you may be denied coverage or charged more based on your health conditions at the time.
You Can Opt for Medicare Advantage if You Want an All-In-One Plan
You can choose to opt for traditional Medicare and a Medigap policy, or you can opt for a Medicare Advantage plan (this is also called Medicare Part C), which will provide you medical and prescription drug coverage through a private health insurance company. Medicare Advantage comes at a monthly cost.
You Will Have to Sign up For Medicare During the Enrollment Period
If you are already getting your Social Security benefits, you will automatically be enrolled in Parts A and B – you can, of course, turn down Part B so you don’t have to pay the monthly cost. People who have not yet started their Social Security will need to sign up for Parts A and B during the 7-month initial enrollment period – this period ranges 3 months prior to your birthday month, your birthday month, and 3 months after your birthday month. If you are still employed and receive health insurance from your employer, you may be able to delay signing up for Medicare.