Medicare Signup: Give Yourself Plenty of Time to Sort Through the Options
As part of the Social Security Amendments of 1965, Medicare legislation established a health insurance program for senior persons to complement the retirement, survivors, and disability insurance benefits under Title II of the Social Security Act. The program we have today has grown complex. Making informed choices on your healthcare insurance as you approach retirement age is critical to meeting your unique long-term needs. If you are still working and covered by a qualified group health insurance plan (20 or more employees), for the most part you will be able to defer any Medicare decisions until you separate from your employer’s service. If you are approaching retirement, the clock may be ticking on your choices.
PREPARING FOR HEALTHCARE IN RETIREMENT If you are already receiving Social Security benefits you will be automatically enrolled in Medicare at age 65. If you delay Social Security benefits you will not be automatically enrolled. In this case, the official seven-month initial Medicare enrollment period begins three months prior to your 65th birthday. * During that period you would sign up for what is called Medicare Part A, which covers hospital insurance, and Part B, which covers supplementary medical insurance. Part A essentially helps pay inpatient hospital stays and is free of premiums for most eligible people. Part B helps pay for routine physician visits and outpatient hospital and other services, but all eligible people must pay a monthly premium.
MEDICARE ACTION ITEMS Determine your enrollment date Understand your coverage options Align your Medigap coverage with your health situation Prepare for health care coverage as you know you will no longer be covered by a group plan Talk to a knowledgeable advisor before you take action
SUPPLEMENTAL PLANS You can also add “Medigap” plans, which by definition address any gaps you might have in your particular coverage. Based on your unique circumstances, you can plug these gaps with many different policies. Two of the most comprehensive Medigap policies available today are Plan F and Plan G. ** Plan F covers almost all your contingencies for deductibles and copays that will not be covered by Part B. Plan G is very similar except that it doesn’t cover a Part B deductible. You can also choose to self-insure. Various commercial health insurance companies that meet federally imposed standards offer coverage. Whatever benefits they provide are standardized through different insurance carriers – it’s just a matter of price and service
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