We celebrated National Medicare Education Week by giving beneficiaries important information to help them understand their options. Also, many resources are free to you as we approach the Annual Enrollment Period.
We encourage you to view our educational videos and subscribe; the knowledge we share will empower you and make AEP choices easier. Last year 96% of members said they have a better understanding because of National Medicare Education Week.
Imagine being able to confidently enroll, change, and use your insurance coverage. Well, it’s possible and we’re here to help you get there!
A Very Important Enrollment Period
The first topic we discussed for the National Medicare Education Week was a very important enrollment period. Every beneficiary needs to be aware of this chance to update plans.
The Annual Enrollment Period allows people to make changes to their plans. This takes place from October 15 through December 7th of every year.
This can include changing from:
- Medicare to Medicare Advantage
- MA to Medicare
- Part D/Medicare to an MA plan
- MA to Medicare/Part D
- MA to Medigap
- Medigap to MA
These changes become active on January 1st of the next year. But, if you don’t have Part D when first eligible, you may get a penalty.
Also, every September beneficiaries will have received an Annual Notice of Change letter. This notice details plan changes for the upcoming year.
AEP gives you a chance to change plans when unhappy. Although, you don’t have to be unhappy to change; if you simply find something more suitable, then choose that plan for the next year.
The whole purpose of AEP is to give more power to people who need a plan.
Medicare Parts A Through D
The next thing we discussed for National Medicare Education Week is the differences in Medicare Parts.
There are four main parts; includes Part A, B, C, and D. Many beneficiaries need these parts broken down into plain terms.
Well, Part A is premium-free when you work at least 40 work quarters in your lifetime. If you don’t work this amount, you pay for Part A.
Part A covers inpatient hospital services with a deductible. After that, it covers 80% of supplies and services.
Part B includes doctor visits and medical supplies. Part B premiums depend on income so you can pay more or less than that amount.
With Part B, after the deductible, you only pay 20% of the costs. Part C is a Medicare Advantage Plan; these plans can include Part A, B, and D.
These plans can sound like a dream since some of them include benefits like dental. However, these plans come with limitations; think about talking to a broker before buying a plan.
Part D covers prescription drugs. These plans each have a different list of covered drugs; make sure your drugs are on that list before you enroll.
If you wait to enroll for any reason, you’ll get a penalty when you do sign up for a plan.
How to Enroll
One of the most important things for beneficiaries to learn during National Medicare Education Week is how to enroll.
Normally, seniors get automatic enrollment into Medicare upon turning 65. You should get your red, white, and blue card a few months before turning 65.
You’re automatically enrolled when you’re turning 65 and already have Social Security or Railroad Retirement benefits. If you’re under 65 and you’ve had benefits for 24 months, you’ll have automatic enrollment.
Also, if you have Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) you’ll receive Medicare immediately. Those with ESRD may be able to begin coverage during the first month of dialysis.
Those that don’t get automatic enrollment can sign up through the SSA over the phone, online, or in-person at a local office.
Once you sign up, contact an agent to make a plan for your healthcare.
Is Your Service 100% Free or 100% Out of Pocket?
National Medicare Education Week began so more people could understand their insurance; if you know a service is free, you’re more likely to attend those preventative care visits.
The Welcome to Medicare visit is available at no cost during the first 12 months of Medicare; you must use a doctor that accepts Medicare assignment. This includes a review of medical history, basic physical, and a vision test.
When going to your Welcome Visit appointment, the Part B deductible is waived.
Then, the Annual Wellness Visit is a yearly appointment with your Doctor to help create or update your prevention plan. A prevention plan can help you reduce the likelihood of disease or illness.
While many preventative services have coverage at 100%, some services have no coverage. Long-term care is one of the biggest things not covered.
Medicare dental coverage doesn’t really exist, you’ll need a separate policy or an Advantage plan that includes comprehensive dental. Also, routine foot care, foreign travel, hearing aids, cosmetic surgery, and acupuncture don’t qualify.
Medicare Myth vs. Fact
There are many misconceptions about Medicare, many people think it’s the same thing as Medicaid. Some even believe Original Medicare covers 100% of inpatient and outpatient services.
The most dangerous myth is that new enrollees think that once eligible, they can sign up at any time.
Hopefully, these facts help set the record straight.
Medicare is a federal program for those 65 and older, those with ALS, or those under 65 on disability. However, Medicaid is a state-funded program available to low-income individuals or families.
Part A has a deductible. Individuals are subject to paying that each hospital event. Part B has a deductible. Both Parts leave Beneficiaries with 20% of the bills after the deductible is met. Although, Medigap can help cover these expenses.
You have 2 enrollment periods to enroll in; the Initial Enrollment Period and the General Enrollment Period. However, if you miss the first enrollment period, you risk incurring late enrollment penalties.
National Medicare Education Week Continues
If you want to remain in the loop about Medicare basics, policies, and changes join our Facebook community group. We can answer all your questions and give you the power you need to make a smart enrollment choice.
Our team of experts can walk you through everything; from enrollment in the beginning, to changing plans in the middle, or handling claims and appeals. MedicareFAQ is a community that cares.
If you would like to learn about the upcoming Medicare Changes, you can watch our video here. To discover the best rates available in your area, contact our brokers at the number above or fill out an online rate form to get started.