So you’ve managed to juggle a rewarding career while raising a healthy, happy family, and now it’s time to plan for the next exciting, new steps in your own life. The old saying remains true today, when you’ve got your health you’ve got just about everything, but are you really doing all you can to protect your health or are you waiting until something goes wrong to worry?
If you’re turning 65 soon or are looking after a loved one who already has, then I have some great news for you. There are a few simple, worry-saving precautions that can be taken to assure that if you get sick or hurt, your medical bills and needs will be taken care of. The following list of tips was designed for those who are on the fence when it comes to Medicare supplemental insurance and will help guide them in the right direction when it comes to picking the best Medicare supplemental plan to fit their needs. Waiting to apply for a Medicare supplement plan when something happens and or you need medical treatment; unfortunately, you’ve waited too long.
The following tips have been designed to help you safeguard your health and take control of any Medicare supplemental insurance decisions quickly and correctly so you can keep on enjoying life without worrying about how to pay for future medical procedures.
1. What is Medicare Supplement Anyway & Why Do I Need It? Upon turning 65 years old, most individuals become eligible for Medicare. Some individuals are eligible for Medicare before turning 65 due to a disability. Medicare will only cover a certain amount, however, leaving gaps where the individual has to pay the balance. In most cases this balance can be quite a bit, thus the necessity for a Medicare supplement plan. Medicare supplement plans—also called Medigap plans—will fill in the cracks of coverage that are left with just plain Medicare like deductibles and co-insurance not covered by Medicare.
2. What Makes Me Medicare-Eligible? Generally, you are eligible for Medicare if you (or your spouse) worked for at least 40 quarters, are 65-years old or older, and are a citizen or permanent resident of the United States. If you are not 65 yet, you may still qualify for Medicare coverage due to a disability or are suffering from a disease like end-stage renal disease (ESRD).
3. How Do I Sign Up for Medicare? Signing up for Medicare is easier than you think. If you are enrolled in Social Security you will automatically be enrolled in Medicare and should get your card in the mail about three months before turning 65.
4. Where Can I Find Resources to Help Choose the Best Medicare Supplement Plan? There are a variety of government as well as private resources, the main one being Medicare.gov. The pros and cons of checking out Medicare.gov is that there is so much information on the site that the answer to your specific question is probably buried under tons of other information and could take forever to find. An easier method may be one of the local or national groups like the Senior Advisors Group where Medicare insurance specialists are standing by to assist you with specific questions regarding anything having to do with Medicare enrollment, choosing the best Medicare supplement plan, Medicare Advantage, and Medicare Part D (prescription) plans.
5. What the Heck is Medicare Advantage and Why Am I Getting So Much Literature About It? Medicare Advantage plans are another choice that exist other than the traditional Medicare supplemental plan. Because insurance companies receive significant reimbursements when they enroll you in their Medicare Advantage plans, they will often overwhelm new 65-year olds with tons of information. Don’t be fooled! There are many more choices other than Medicare Advantage, including Medicare supplement plans and Medicare Part D—Medicare’s prescription drug plan. The important thing is you take time and choose the right plan to fit your specific needs.
6. What Are the Differences Between Medicare Advantage and Medicare Supplement Plans? There are many differences between these two choices, but the most important thing you need to remember when choosing the best Medicare supplement plan is that you cannot have both. Another main difference is that Medicare Advantage is typically a HMO or PPO while a Medicare supplemental plan is not. Another difference to consider when choosing a supplement plan is that while a Medicare supplement plan will cost a little more, it will give you more freedom and few (if any) co-pays. Medicare Advantage, however, may have restrictions on what doctors you can see and your co-pay will almost always be higher.
So now that you know the basics of Medicare and Medicare supplemental plans go ahead and make a phone call or two to a Medicare insurance specialist in your area and give yourself the gift of peace-of-mind. It really is one of the easiest ways to protect yourself and protect your family.
Author Bio: Simone is a writer, researcher, and Philadelphia native whose focus is on health, Medicare, and travel. Her opinions and writings can be found on various industry blogs and forums.