The Medicare Open Enrollment period is just around the corner, so now is the perfect time to start exploring what you need to know. Medicare is the health insurance program run by the government for individuals 65 and older. And while some older adults are excited to reap the benefits, others just see question marks.
Medicare can be used as your sole health insurance coverage or backup coverage if you are still employed or have insurance through a spouse or union. The important thing is to understand is how to enroll and what the differences are between Medicare Parts A, B, C and D.
Medicare is one of the largest group health plans in the world. And as such, it can sometimes be a little confusing to understand. To put it simply, Medicare is broken down into several parts that target specific areas of coverage. These are grouped into parts A, B, C and D.
Medicare Part A and B – These are the original plans available through Medicare. Part A is designed to cover hospital bills or skilled nursing facilities. Part B is intended to cover outpatient medical needs, such as doctor visits, lab work and other similar medical services.
Medicare Part C – Slightly unique to parts A and B, Medicare part C is also known as the Medicare Advantage plan. This is elective coverage offered by a private insurance company that acts as an alternative to traditional Medicare. It typically covers hospital bills, outpatient care as well as prescription drugs.
Medicare Part D – This is your prescription coverage. It is a pharmacy card that allows you to purchase prescription medicines at lower costs and is valid now and for future medicines. Out of pocket costs for medicine is on the rise, so having insurance to help cover some of it is valuable.
While Medicare doesn’t cover all of your healthcare costs, it can significantly help to lower out of pocket spending for many things. When you turn 65, it is your choice as to whether or not you enroll in Medicare right away or if you choose to only enroll in part of it.
As of the first day of the month in which you will turn 65, you are eligible for the three main parts of Medicare. And once a year, usually during October through December, you are able to make changes to your plan choices to better suit your needs.
Oftentimes, it makes sense to sit down with a financial or Medicare professional to help you better understand what parts of Medicare you need, any supplemental insurance policies that might make sense for you and how they can help walk you through the enrollment process.
Medicare can be confusing, but by doing your research, you will feel empowered to make the right decisions for your retirement years.
When you are ready to make a change to a lower maintenance retirement lifestyle, we encourage you to explore the beautiful North Carolina campuses of St. Joseph of the Pines. We offer a variety of living options and a continuum of care that supports aging in place. Book a tour of Belle Meade and Pine Knoll to see everything we have to offer. Contact us today; we are here to help.