Caring for aging parents comes with plenty of challenges on its own. The last thing you want to worry about is your parents’ health insurance needs. Finding the right plan, though, isn’t always as simple as it sounds. Whether your parents are facing medical complications, transitioning to a nursing home, or simply needing help navigating technology to enroll, there are several factors you should consider before they stick with basic Medicare.
Medicare Parts A and B, also known as Original Medicare, offer hospital coverage and outpatient coverage respectively. You can learn more about what Part A and Part B cover exactly by reading this article.
With Original Medicare, you pay for services as you get them. While Medicare will cover a lot of costs, you could still be responsible for deductibles, copayments, and coinsurance. On its own, Original Medicare will not cover supplemental healthcare (such as hearing, vision, or dental care) or prescription drugs.
Medicare Part C, or Medicare Advantage, is an alternative to Original Medicare. This plan bundles your Medicare coverage, including Parts A and B and usually Part D prescription drug coverage. Medicare Advantage can also cover things that Original Medicare does not, like vision, dental, and hearing insurance.
While Medicare Advantage has several benefits over Original Medicare, there are also a few other considerations that need to be made before choosing one Medicare option over another. If your parent has specific doctors or medical needs, you will need to check to make sure those healthcare providers are in-network and whether or not they will need a referral to see certain specialists.
If a Medicare Advantage plan covers all of your parents’ providers and services, however, then it can be a great option for anyone looking for a “one-stop shop” option for their health insurance needs.
Medicare Part D provides coverage for prescription drug costs. This plan is offered by private insurance carriers and is available for purchase as a separate stand alone plan for those with Original Medicare or can also be included as part of a Medicare Advantage plan.
Policies vary by cost and which medications they cover, but even the least expensive prescription drug plans cover most of the generic and brand name drugs generally needed by people on Medicare.
Even if your parents are not currently taking any expensive medications, it is still wise to be enrolled in at least an inexpensive drug plan as there are high financial penalties for adding it later.
A Medicare Supplement Insurance (Medigap) policy can help pay some of the remaining health care costs that Original Medicare does not cover. This may include copayments, coinsurance, and deductibles.
Not everything falls under Medigap, however. A supplement plan may not cover long-term care, vision or dental care, hearing aids, eyeglasses, or private-duty nursing.
With a supplement plan, healthcare costs will first be covered by Original Medicare and any leftover may be covered by the Medigap plan.
Finding the right Medicare plan for your parents begins by reviewing their situation and estimating their future healthcare needs.
Trusting a professional is another way to make sure you find the best options for their needs. By consulting a Medicare advisor, you get:
Want to make sure your parents have the best Medicare coverage for their healthcare needs? Our local advisors have decades of experience supporting Medicare beneficiaries in finding the right coverage.
Turning 65 this year? Well, we’re here to make sure that life keeps getting better with age. These 6 steps can help to ensure that you’re on track to take easy street through the next steps of your life:
You might be under the impression that medical screenings are for diagnosing issues once symptoms present themselves.
This is absolutely not the case. Individuals who schedule routine physicals and screenings can get an early diagnosis if they are developing a medical condition – increasing the likelihood of success for medical intervention and thus life expectancy.
Regularly scheduling tests creates a basis for physicians to compare results as time passes, which helps them get a more well-rounded perspective of your individual needs.
Talk to your doctor to determine which regular screenings you should take based upon your age, family medical history, and more. While you’re at it, also talk to your doctor about what Medicare plans they accept. This will be important to know when you select a Medicare plan when you turn 65.
As you age, your medical coverage needs will change. For example, if you have risk factors for certain diseases, you might want to consider the need to treat those if they do, in fact, develop later in life.
Being proactive starts by having the right conversations with your doctor to determine how to best plan for your future health so that you're covered – regardless of what life throws your way.
One important factor to take into account when considering your long-term health is having the right healthcare coverage. Choosing a plan simply based on their current health needs is one mistake many newly eligible Medicare beneficiaries make. Talking with your doctor as well as a Medicare advisor can help you prepare for the future.
While financial planning may feel overwhelming, it's important to have a handle on your finances in this stage of life.
Start by making sure you have a budget to grasp the full range of expenses you will have each month.
Financial planners suggest that you need to replace 80% of your income once you retire. Likely, your Social Security benefits will not meet that benchmark. Social Security provides a standard of living comparable to the bottom quarter of earners in the United States. If your standard of living requires an income higher than $30,000 a year, you need to consider how you will supplement your benefits.
Additionally, turning 65 also means you become eligible for Medicare, which impacts your finances in more ways than you may realize. For example, there are different Medicare plan options, including plans with $0 premiums but high out of pocket costs or vice versa.
Choosing a plan that fits your budget needs in this stage of life is important. You may be eligible for Medicare costs savings programs or a Medicare Supplement plan that helps cover your out of pocket expenses, like copays, deductibles, and coinsurance.
If you’re concerned about how Medicare will impact your finances, consider meeting with a Medicare advisor.
Beyond basic expenses, it’s also important to understand your taxes in this stage of life.
For example, where you live can impact what taxes you pay in retirement. Some states offer better tax implications for seniors, such as Florida and New Hampshire – if you’re considering moving when you retire check out the best states for seniors to retire in.
Furthermore, your taxes can impact your Medicare costs. If your adjusted gross income (AGI) reported on your taxes is above a certain level, you may incur a surcharge on your Medicare Part B and Part D plan premiums. This surcharge, referred to as IRMAA, can significantly impact your health coverage costs.
The surprising part?
IRMAA is based on your taxes from 2 years prior! For this reason, it’s important to understand how IRMAA works and what you might be able to do to avoid the costly surcharge.
Ultimately, it’s crucial that you have a full picture of your finances as you enter this new stage of life.
It is essential to enroll in Medicare benefits as soon as you become eligible during your Initial Enrollment Period (IEP).
The IEP is the seven-month window around your 65th birthday (three months before and the three months after). If you miss your window, you could face gaps in health insurance coverage, incur late enrollment penalties, and have to wait for another enrollment period such as the Annual Enrollment Period.
If you have entered your Medicare eligibility window, schedule an appointment with a Medicare Advisor in your community who can help you in this transition.
Not eligible yet, but turning 65 in the near future? Explore more of our Medicare Resources. We cover everything from Medicare Advantage to Part D Prescription Drug plans and more! Being familiar with the ins and outs of Medicare will help you make the best decision when you do become eligible.
Medicare fraud is an unfortunate reality in the world today. Millions of dollars are lost every year from Medicare scams, and these scams can wreak havoc on the lives of individuals in Montana. Those who dismiss the possibility that they could fall victim are at the highest risk. Be sure to stay vigilant, discuss sensitive information only with people you trust, and take the right steps for your safety.
With Medicare fraud, the first step is admitting that it could happen to you, that way you can take steps to protect your information. Scams can be easily avoided if you take extra precautions and follow a few simple tips:
While most of the marketing scams listed above pertain to in-person meetings with agents, scammers may try to get information from you in other ways, too. Here are some common scams to be on the lookout for:
Another common phone scam is someone asking “Can you hear me?” They will edit you saying “yes” so that it sounds like you are agreeing to purchase a product or to submit information. If you answer the phone and someone you don’t know asks this, hang up immediately.
Scammers are getting smarter every day and finding new ways to trick Medicare recipients out of their information and money. Take extra precautions with every interaction to make sure your information and identity remain safe.
One crucial way to avoid Medicare fraud is by meeting with a licensed Medicare advisor if you have questions or concerns. When you trust Plan Advisors, you can guarantee that you're getting help from a reputable agent who takes your privacy and Medicare coverage seriously. Find a local trusted Medicare advisor today.
Through Montana Senior Medical Patrol (SMP), senior volunteers help fellow seniors become pro-active consumers identifying potential mistakes, abuse or fraud in medical billing.
If you are having difficulty with health care bills or fraud, contact your Area Agency on Aging at 1-800-551-3191 during normal business hours for a local volunteer.
During the Annual Enrollment Period, you may hear from your Medicare company or meet in person with a new agent. It is important to understand your rights because at this time there are very specific guidelines that agents are to follow. If they are marketing to you incorrectly, this is a violation of your rights and potentially deceitful.
Here are a few things to note about Medicare marketing during Open Enrollment:
If any agent does ask you questions they’re not supposed to you or anything feels off, it is okay to walk away and find someone else who will treat you with more respect.
If you’re at the age when Medicare is becoming a part of your daily life, you’re probably considering the different options available and their accompanying costs. One of the costs you might encounter is IRMAA – the income related monthly adjustment amount.
IRMAA is a surcharge you might incur on your Medicare Part B and Part D plan premiums if your adjusted gross income (AGI) is above a certain level.
If you’re trying to save on your Medicare costs, you might have some options that can help you to keep your out-of-pocket low.
To navigate reducing your Medicare IRMAA-associated costs, it’s helpful to understand how it works.
Typically, Medicare beneficiaries pay a standard premium that covers 25% of the costs for Part B and Part D. The other 75% is covered by the government. Beneficiaries with higher incomes end up paying more than 25%.
Essentially, IRMAA brackets put candidates in premium categories that determine the adjusted amount they pay for prescription drug coverage or Medicare Part B medical coverage. There are 5 brackets, which determine whether a beneficiary pays 35%, 50%, 65%, 80%, or 85% of the program costs.
The real shocker for most beneficiaries is that the program is based on your yearly income – whether individually or jointly filed – from 2 years prior.
The income on your 2021 tax filing will determine what you pay in 2023.
We all know that a lot can change in 2 years, especially as we retire, lose property, or even face the death of a loved one.
IRMAA determination is evaluated every year, but because it reflects your income from 2 years prior there are instances that make you eligible for appeal.
Sometimes there is nothing that you can do to avoid the IRMAA surcharge. But there are many cases in which you may qualify for an IRRMA adjustment that makes you eligible to reduce or completely eliminate your extra cost.
There are many everyday life events that the Social Security Administration will consider for an IRMAA appeal. Those events include but aren't limited to:
If you've experienced any of these life changes, you will need to request an appeal in writing by completing a request for reconsideration form (SSA-561-U2). There are three ways to get the form:
If you have not experienced a qualifying life event, you might not be able to reduce your Medicare Part B premium.
Of course, this is a simplified overview of IRMAA and the IRMAA appeals process. But simply understanding the appeal process allows you to take control of your Medicare coverage and determine how to get the lowest-cost care possible.The most important part of navigating the world of Medicare is understanding your needs and making sure that your plan accommodates each of them. Concerned you don't have the right Medicare plan for your needs? Schedule a time to talk with one of our local Medicare advisors.
As our parents age, we often take on more responsibilities to help care for their needs. In this stage of life there can be both great joys as well as new challenges.
Taking care of aging parents introduces us to all sorts of new encounters – and one of those is learning how Medicare works.
Medicare can be confusing. With all of the information available on the topic, you might find yourself unsure of where to start. The following 5 tips for helping your parents with their Medicare benefits will help you navigate through the confusion.
To be a resource for your parents as they enroll in Medicare coverage, first you need to know the basics of how Medicare works. We’ll start by answering “What are the different parts of Medicare?”
Medicare A acts as hospital insurance and covers inpatient hospital stays, care in a skilled nursing facility, hospice care, and some home health care. When you help your parents sign up for Medicare they will automatically be enrolled in Part A.
Most people qualify for Part A premium-free. If one of your parents paid Medicare taxes while working, then they don’t have to pay a monthly premium for Part A (this is the most common scenario).
Hospital expenses aren’t completely free, though, with Part A Medicare insurance.
Medicare charges a deductible each time a beneficiary is admitted to the hospital. The deductible cost changes every year. In 2021 the deductible was $1,484. If this cost is a concern, consider looking into a Medicare Supplement plan.
Medicare B acts as general medical insurance and covers certain doctors' services, outpatient care, and preventative services. Preventative services covered by Medicare Part B include annual wellness visits, diabetes screenings, flu shots, and many other screenings and tests.
Unlike Medicare Part A, Part B comes at a cost.
The monthly premium for Medicare Part B changes each year. In 2021 the premium started at $148.50 and increased for people with higher incomes. Additionally, there is an annual deductible and beneficiaries pay a percentage of the bills for doctor visits and other outpatient services.
Technically, your parent does not have to sign up for Part B. But, if they’re not covered by other qualifying insurance and do not sign-up for Part B when they first enroll in Medicare, then they will incur a costly penalty for as long as they’re in the program.
Wait… is there a Medicare Part C? We’ll come back to that in a moment. First, it’s important to know that Medicare Part D covers prescription drugs and is purchased in addition to Medicare Parts A & B.
Medicare Part D plans are offered by private insurance companies approved by Medicare. Every Medicare Part D plan is different, including which prescriptions are covered, which pharmacies are in-network, and what the out of pocket costs are for prescriptions.
If you want to take a deep-dive into prescription drug coverage, we recommend taking a look at this article about the details of Medicare Part D.
Parts A, B, and D of Medicare can be combined through Medicare Advantage Plans (aka Part C).
Medicare Advantage plans are offered by private insurers approved by Medicare. These plans are great because they bundle all of the coverage under a single plan. They also often include additional coverage not offered by Original Medicare such as dental and vision.
What do Medicare Advantage plans cost?
Beneficiaries enrolled in Medicare Advantage pay both a premium for their Part C plan as well as the standard Part B premium.
While paying two monthly premiums may seem costly, often beneficiaries save on their overall healthcare expenses. Some Medicare Advantage plans even have a $0 premium or may help pay for Part B premiums.
It's important to note that your parents must enroll in Medicare benefits during their Initial Enrollment Period (IEP).
The IEP is the seven-month window around their 65th birthday (three months before and the three months after their birth month). If they miss their window, they could face gaps in health insurance coverage, incur late enrollment penalties, and have to wait for another enrollment period such as the Annual or General Enrollment Periods, which at specific times of the year.
Like other personal health information, there are regulations around what can and cannot be shared with someone other than the patient unless authorized.
If your parent would like you to speak to Medicare on their behalf, they will need to complete an Authorization to Disclose Personal Health Information form.
Without this form, a Medicare representative will be unable to speak directly with you regarding your parent's program options.
For complete information, visit the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services website.
Oftentimes, the best Medicare plan for your parents will be based on their healthcare needs.
Talk with your parents to understand what their health needs are. Knowing what they are hoping to get out of their Medicare coverage can help narrow down their options. Of course, each plan’s coverage varies and talking to a Medicare expert will help ensure your parent is enrolled in the best plan for their needs.
Ask your parent the essential questions:
Allow those questions to transform into a conversation in which you can fully understand your parent's position.
It is best to be proactive with their healthcare providers to avoid any hold-ups with your parent's care.
A little-known fact is that health care providers must enroll in the Medicare Program to receive payment for covered services from Medicare. So, be sure to check with them to ensure that they are enrolled in the Medicare program.
Additionally, some plans only cover services provided by doctors who are in-network. If your parent has a preferred provider, it’s important to make sure that they are in-network for the plan when doing a plan search. Our Medicare Advisors, for example, can search for plans by doctor to ensure that they only show you options that cover the desired physician.
There's a lot of information out there about Medicare. If you're feeling overwhelmed while trying to help your loved one find the right Medicare plan, you're not alone.
With all of the responsibilities that come with helping an aging parent, navigating the complexities of Medicare shouldn’t consume all of your time and energy. Consider turning to an experienced advisor who can help you compare options and guide you through the enrollment process. If you're simply looking for more information, learn more about how to help enroll your parent in Medicare.
Recovering from a hospital stay should be as stress-free as possible. And worrying about making meals should not be something you have to do.
Did you know that your Medicare Advantage plan may offer a post-discharge meal delivery service?
If you’re expecting to have an inpatient hospital stay in the near future keep reading for more information about Post-Discharge Meal Delivery Programs.
Many people are surprised to find that most Medicare Advantage plans provide a post-discharge meal delivery benefit.
The program typically allows you to receive 10 to 14 pre-cooked meals delivered to your home after being discharged from the hospital. Not having to prepare meals can be a significant relief when you’re trying to rest and recover.
And if you’re concerned about potential quality issues, take a look at these photos that a recipient sent in for some peace of mind:
These perfectly packaged meals are a real lifesaver after – especially if your impatient stay has you indisposed for a few days.
Meal options vary by carrier, but typically you can expect:
The best part?
They’re easy to prepare! Making it hassle-free to have a healthy meal while you’re recovering.
Post-discharge meal delivery benefits vary by carrier and plan.
If you’re looking for quick access to your carrier’s specific program, below are a few carriers that have information readily available on their websites:
Review your Evidence of Coverage booklet of your Medicare Advantage plan to learn more about post-discharge meal delivery benefits. It typically requires prior authorization. Be sure to complete that process to ensure that you can take full advantage of this excellent benefit.
When you're in recovery you shouldn't have to worry about your Medicare plan benefits. If you have questions about all the benefit options available to you, find a local advisor who can ensure your needs are being met.
Turning 65 is a big milestone – one that nearly 20% of Montana residents have celebrated. Yet, turning 65 is not all about surprise parties and dinner celebrations. Rather, it can feel overwhelming. With each milestone you face in life, you likely have questions about what's next. If you have questions about turning 65, you're not alone. We've taken the time to answer some of the most common questions that 65 brings.
Although many people believe that the answer is 65, the social security retirement age (at which individuals become eligible to claim all of their Social Security benefits) has increased from 65 to 66. That age is scheduled to continue to rise to age 67 over the next few years.
This increase in age is a result of the rise in life expectancy – the idea is that if people are living longer, there is evidence to back the increase in the retirement age. Regardless of the retirement age requirements, be sure to keep in mind that you still become eligible for Medicare benefits three months before your 65th birthday.
Individuals that receive Social Security are automatically signed up for Medicare Parts A and B at age 65.
Medicare A is for hospital insurance and covers inpatient hospital stays, care in a skilled nursing facility, hospice care, and home health care. Medicare B is for general medical insurance and covers certain doctor's services, outpatient care, and preventative services. There is a premium for Part B, but this can be deducted from your Social Security, Railroad Retirement, or Civil Service Retirement check.
To access the benefits, individuals turning 65 need to be aware that Social Security will be sending detailed instructions at the beginning of the initial enrollment period – approximately three months before their 65th birthday.
On the other hand, if you are not already receiving Social Security benefits when you turn 65, then you won’t automatically be enrolled. And you won’t receive any information from Social Security regarding your eligibility.
If you fall into the latter category, you’ll be solely responsible for enrolling in Medicare.
No matter which category you fall into, it is important to meet with a Medicare advisor to ensure that you not only get enrolled in Medicare during your Initial Enrollment Period, but that you also enroll in the right plan – you’d be surprised how many options are available to you!
You should sign up for Medicare at age 65, and it is essential to enroll in Medicare benefits during your Initial Enrollment Period (IEP).
The IEP is the seven-month window around your 65th birthday (three months before and the three months after).
If you miss your window, you could face gaps in health insurance coverage, incur late enrollment penalties, and have to wait for another enrollment period such as the Annual Enrollment Period.
You can, but if you plan to do so, be vigilant about enrollment deadlines because Social Security will not automatically sign you up for Medicare benefits.
Although Social Security and Medicare are not the same programs, the Social Security Administration is the party that completes enrollment for Original Medicare (Plans A and B). Therefore, if you choose not to receive Social Security benefits but still want Medicare benefits, you'll need to enroll yourself.
Instead of relying on automatic enrollment, you'll complete the process either online, through calling the Social Security office, or by contacting a Medicare professional.
You can use the Social Security Administration's online application to sign up for Medicare Parts A and B. Medicare is generally available for any individual approaching or at the age of 65. And in some cases, people under the age of 65 might qualify because of specific disabilities. You can check your eligibility using our Medicare Eligibility Check.
Your company size will determine how you approach Medicare if you're still working and have employer coverage.
If you find that you have group health coverage, you might be able to delay Parts A and B and avoid the lifetime late enrollment penalty for enrolling later.
The Medicare.gov website offers details on which expenses Medicare will cover when you are traveling.
However, it is essential to note that in most cases, Medicare does not cover health care that is accessed outside the United States. The administration defines outside the U.S. as "…anywhere other than the 50 states of the U.S., the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands Guam, American Samoa, and the Northern Mariana Islands."
Medicare Advantage plans, on the other hand, have their own coverage details, and some may cover your healthcare expenses when you travel.
It’s important to access how often you plan to travel in this stage of life and factor that in when choosing your Medicare plan.
Additionally, the state of Montana has helpful resources for seniors. Take some time to review the resources they have available – even if you won't need them anytime soon, it's beneficial to familiarize yourself with them.
As we age, our health needs change, and older adults, especially, face many challenges when it comes to taking care of their health. Among the most challenging is navigating the government-sponsored healthcare coverage program for seniors. The golden years of retirement can be overshadowed by the bombardment of telephone calls and excess junk mail all about Medicare. It’s no wonder so many older adults get confused when it comes to making the right choices for their healthcare coverage and therefore rely on outside help.
About 19% of Americans act as caretakers for a spouse, parent, grandparent, or community member; and the majority of individuals being cared for rely on Medicare or Medicaid. Even adult children whose parents and grandparents are still independent often end up helping their loved one navigate the healthcare system.
One of the first steps to being able to help your parent, grandparent, or other loved one enroll in Medicare is to understand the process. Keep reading to learn more about the different parts of Medicare, how Medicare enrollment works, and how to find the Medicare plan that best fits your loved one’s needs.
Medicare is a complex system that can be difficult to fully understand, especially when there is a wealth of information available. We’ll start simple by defining Medicare and all its basic parts.
Medicare is the U.S. government’s largest health insurance program that provides affordable healthcare coverage to eligible adults. With Medicare, there are a few different options for how to get coverage.
Medicare Parts A and B, or Original Medicare, offer hospital coverage and outpatient coverage respectively. Part A pays for room and board at the hospital and some other healthcare facilities. Part B includes almost everything that Part A doesn’t cover, like doctor visits, medical equipment, lab work, surgeries, therapy, and more.
With Original Medicare, the recipient pays for services as they get them. While Medicare will cover a lot of costs, your loved one could still be responsible for deductibles, copayments, and coinsurance. However, they may also be eligible for Medigap, supplemental insurance, to help cover those costs. If your loved one needs prescription drug coverage, they can also apply for Medicare Part D.
Medicare Part D provides coverage for prescription drug costs. This plan is offered by private insurance carriers and is available for purchase as a separate stand-alone plan for those with Original Medicare or can also be included as part of a Medicare Advantage plan.
Medicare Part C, or Medicare Advantage, is an optional, low-cost alternative to Original Medicare offered by private, Medicare-approved insurance companies. These “all-in-one” plans bundle Medicare coverage, including Parts A and B and usually Part D prescription drug coverage as well. Medicare Advantage can also cover things that Original Medicare does not, like vision, dental, and hearing insurance.
A Medicare Supplement Insurance (Medigap) policy can help pay some of the remaining health care costs that Original Medicare does not cover. This may include copayments, coinsurance, and deductibles. Not everything falls under Medigap, however. A supplement plan may not cover long-term care, vision or dental care, hearing aids, eyeglasses, or private-duty nursing. Medicare Supplement plans are offered by private insurance carriers.
There are multiple Medicare enrollment periods that your parent or loved one may be eligible for. Individuals become eligible for Medicare when they turn 65. Younger adults who are disabled or have End-Stage Renal Disease may also be eligible for Medicare.
It is important to do your research and know the date cutoff for their enrollment period in order to make sure they are enrolled without any penalties.
Initial Enrollment Period: IEP begins three months before your 65th birthday and ends three months after the month that you turn 65. In most cases, if you don’t sign up for Medicare Part B when you’re first eligible, you will have to pay a late enrollment fee for as long as you have Part B and could have a gap in your health coverage.
Annual Enrollment Period: AEP begins October 15 and ends December 7 each year. During this time, beneficiaries are able to make changes to their existing Medicare plans.
Open Enrollment Period: OEP allows beneficiaries to make a one-time change to their Medicare Advantage Plan from January 1 through March 31. During this time, you can also sign up for Medicare if you missed your window, but fees and gaps in coverage may apply.
Special Enrollment Periods: SEPs are available under certain circumstances throughout the year, such as moving out of your existing plan’s service area or retiring from a job that previously provided your benefits. Generally, there are no late fees associated with signing up for Medicare during an SEP, but the eligibility requirements vary.
There are pros and cons to each Medicare plan, but the most important thing is to find the plan that best fits your parent or loved one’s needs. Determining this will depend on a few factors unique to their circumstance, such as where they live and what kind of care they expect to need.
Here are a few other things to consider:
Cost: How high will the beneficiary’s out-of-pocket expenses be? This could include monthly premiums, deductibles, copayments, or coinsurance.
Benefits: Does the plan cover any additional healthcare services they need? For example, prescription drugs, vision, dental, or hearing insurance.
Convenience: Are the in-network providers conveniently located? Are their preferred healthcare providers in-network?
Needs: Have they required healthcare in the past few years? Do they anticipate an increased need for care? Do they often see specialists for a health condition?
All of these factors impact which plan is right for your loved one. And often two plans can seem very similar, yet the smallest difference can dramatically change their fit.
To make sure you get it right the first time, your best option may be to discuss your parent or loved one’s situation with a Medicare advisor. A professional can help you weed through the excess information and find the exact plan that will best serve your loved one.
If you're helping a loved one or parent enroll in Medicare our experienced Medicare Advisors are here to support you if you have a question. You can also explore more of our Medicare Resources to educate yourself on all things Medicare.
Your long-awaited retirement years are coming up, but before you can start enjoying your retirement lifestyle there are a few things you need to prepare for. With a little planning you can ease into retirement with as little stress as possible. Keep reading to learn 4 simple ways you can begin planning for retirement now.
The first step to retirement planning is figuring out what it is you want to do during retirement. You may have certain goals you want to accomplish in your retirement, such as traveling, downsizing, relocating to a new state, or picking up a new hobby, but reaching your retirement goals can feel daunting.
Before tackling a mile-long list, you need to prioritize your goals. Prioritizing your goals can mean looking at what matters most to you as well as your timeline, finances, and other factors.
Once you've prioritized your goals it will be easier to then determine how you are going to accomplish them. Consider your post-retirement priorities with a friend or family member so they can encourage you and help keep you accountable as you work towards them!
Reaching retirement is a huge milestone, but it can also be stressful, especially when looking at your finances.
Getting organized, however, is one of the first steps to making your retirement finances a little easier. Assessing your financial situation can include estimating your expenses and debts, 401k, and social security.
If you're not already in the habit of budgeting and monitoring your finances, it's never too late to start. Most seniors live on a fixed income during retirement, which makes planning for your income and expenses each month important.
Additionally, if you're planning on relocating or traveling frequently in retirement, there are important financial aspects to plan for as well.
Consider meeting with a financial planner who can help you review your finances and plan for retirement.
Making healthy choices, like eating better and staying physically activity, can lead to a long and healthy retirement, but there are a few other factors to consider as well.
Even if you're relatively health right now, it's important to consider your future needs. Take a look at what you think your future healthcare costs might be and what Medicare coverage options are available to you helps you prepare for the years to come.
If it's been a while since you've visited your primary care provider, now is a good time to make an appointment for a routine checkup. Evaluating your current health can equip you to find a Medicare plan that is right for your needs.
It's never too early to start planning for retirement, and if retirement is in your near future then now is the time to get a jump on the tips above.
Our team is here to help you with your Medicare planning. Most seniors don't know exactly when they are eligible to enroll in Medicare after retirement. Talk to a Medicare specialist today to make sure you take advantage of your Special Enrollment Period.
If you're retiring soon, it's important to make sure you have a plan for transitioning from Employer Health Insurance to Medicare. Talk to a Medicare Advisor who can help ease the transition and give you confidence in your coverage.
Happy Birthday! Turning 65 is a big milestone around here. Anyone turning 65 in 2021 (or with January 2022 birthdays) will become eligible for Medicare benefits by October of this year.
Unfortunately, it’s easy to get overwhelmed by the sheer amount of information out there about Medicare and choosing the right plan. There are multiple parts and certain requirements you have to adhere to—not to mention the onslaught of mail you’ll be getting this year! To help you keep everything straight, here are a 5 simple reminders for anyone turning 65 in 2021.
Anyone within 3 months of turning 65 is eligible to enroll in Medicare, but depending on your circumstance, you will either be enrolled automatically in Medicare or you will have to sign up on your own.
If you already receive benefits from Social Security or the Railroad Retirement Board (RRB), or will receive benefits at least four months before you turn 65, you will automatically be enrolled in Medicare Parts A and B.
The Social Security Administration or RRB will send you information regarding your Medicare coverage in the mail.
If you don’t currently receive benefits from Social Security or the RRB, however, you will have to sign up on your own.
Your Initial Enrollment Period (IEP) for Medicare is the seven-month window around your 65th birthday — the month of your birthday, the three months before, and the three months after.
If you miss your window, you could face gaps in health insurance coverage and late enrollment penalties. Missing your IEP window also means you have to wait for another enrollment period such as the Annual Enrollment Period, which begins in October, or the General Enrollment Period, which begins in January.
Of course, there are special circumstances that make you eligible for a Special Election Period (SEP). Losing employer coverage or moving could both make you eligible for an SEP.
You are technically not required to enroll in Medicare when you turn 65, but in most cases you will incur a penalty surcharge on your monthly premium that you will have to pay as long as you have Part B.
If you still have employer coverage when you turn 65, then the requirements are different. It’s important to talk to a Medicare specialist about your particular circumstance to ensure you don’t incur any unnecessary costs.
Medicare can be confusing to first-time enrollees, as there are several different options offered. Not every plan, however, is right for every person. You have unique needs and the key is finding the best plan to fit those needs. Your Medicare options include these four parts:
Medicare Part A. This is part of Original Medicare that is for Hospital Insurance. This covers inpatient hospital stays, care in a skilled nursing facility, hospice care, and some home health care.
Medicare Part B. This is part of Original Medicare that is for Medical Insurance. This covers certain doctors’ services, outpatient care, and preventative services.
Medicare Part C. Part C, or Medicare Advantage, offers bundled plans that combine parts A, B, and even D for maximum coverage.
Medicare Part D. Part D is the prescription drug benefit component of Medicare. It must be added on to Original Medicare (Part A or B) or it can be included as part of a Medicare Advantage Plan.
Medicare can be confusing, overwhelming, and difficult to understand for anyone. If you are not sure where to go from here or what plan is best for you, talking to a Medicare expert can help get you going in the right direction.
If you’re entering your Medicare eligibility window, schedule an appointment with a Medicare Advisor in your community who can help you in this transition.
Not eligible yet but will be in the near future? Explore more of our Medicare Resources. We cover everything from Medicare Advantage to Part D Prescription Drug plans and more!