5 Medicare Basics Every Senior Needs to Understand

by Staff
medicare basics

According to the CDC, almost 22% percent of noninstitutionalized seniors over the age of sixty-five are in fair or poor health. As you get older, it’s only natural that you’ll need more healthcare treatment, but not everyone has the access to healthcare that they need. Fortunately, Medicare is available to help many seniors.

So, what are some of the Medicare basics you need to know? This article has got you covered. Keep reading to learn more about the 5 most important things to know about Medicare before you turn 65.

1. There’s an Enrollment Period

Just as there are enrollment limitations on other healthcare plans, you can only enroll for Medicare at a certain time. The enrollment period opens three months before your 65th birthday and ends four months after your birthday.

It’s a good idea to apply for Medicare once your enrollment period opens, instead of waiting until your birthday.

If you end up missing your enrollment, then you’ll have to wait for the open enrollment period, which is between January 1st and March 31st. However, you’ll be subjected to a late enrollment penalty.

Keep in mind that if you’re on social security, you may be enrolled automatically once you turn sixty-five. But, you should check to verify, just in case.

2. You Can Choose Between Two Plans

So, how does Medicare work? Once you’re enrolled, you can choose either Medicare Part A or Medicare Part C (also known as a Medicare Advantage Plan).

With Medicare Part A, you’ll need to verify if your doctor accepts the plan, but generally, you can choose to see any doctor. However, you’ll have more out-of-pocket costs with this plan.

Medicare Part C limits the doctors you can see, so keep this in mind if it’s important for you to stay with your current physician. But, you’ll likely have lower out-of-pocket expenses, which is an attractive option.

For more information about the plans, look at MedicareWire.

3. There Are No Family Plans

If you’re used to being on a family healthcare plan, be prepared for that to change once you turn sixty-five. Since Medicare is only an individual benefit, you can’t enroll as a family.

Instead, each member of your family that qualifies for Medicare will need to apply for the benefit separately.

4. Medicare Becomes Your Primary Insurer

Even if you have another form of insurance you intend to use after turning sixty-five, Medicare still becomes your primary insurer.

This means that your other forms of insurance may not always cover all of your hospital bills after you turn sixty-five, as they’re now your secondary insurance.

5. You Can Supplement Your Medicare Coverage

If you would like to supplement your Medicare coverage, and you can afford it, look into a Medigap policy, also known as a Medicare Supplement Plan.

This policy helps cover some of the expenses that Medicare doesn’t, like co-pays and deductibles, making it easier to afford the medical care you need.

Feel More Prepared By Knowing These Medicare Basics

Now that you have more information about the Medicare basics we covered above, you can feel more confident about your options for healthcare when you turn 65. A little planning goes a long way in helping you feel more secure.

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The New Jersey Digest is a new jersey magazine that has chronicled daily life in the Garden State for over 10 years.

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