By Tyler Burgess
I work with people approaching Medicare eligibility on a daily basis. They are oftentimes overwhelmed and confused by the absurd amount of information out there regarding Medicare. I can't blame them, it is a lot. Phone calls, snail-mail, and emails are coming their way from every direction. They are looking for guidance and once they come in to meet with us they feel like a huge weight has been lifted off of their shoulders. I find myself repeating one line consistently in these meetings.
"If I was signing up my own parents for Medicare, here is where I would steer them."
So, this made me think, what would I want to tell my own parents if they were about to embark on the wild journey of getting signed up for Medicare? Here is what I would tell them when the time comes.
- Signing up on time is really important. Lifetime penalties are no fun. Let's get the ball rolling three months before your 65th birthday month.
- You are going to need both Parts A & B of Medicare. This is called "Original Medicare" and you can sign up for it through Social Security. If you are getting your Social Security benefit already it will start automatically. This is the red, white & blue card.
- Part A covers things that happen in an inpatient setting while Part B covers things that are medically necessary and in more of an outpatient setting.
- For the most peace of mind, check out a Medicare Supplement Plan, like a Plan G. Every Plan G provides the same exact coverage. Choose a carrier with strong ratings and who has been around in the market. This supplement plan will fill in the gaps of Original Medicare. As I said, this is peace of mind insurance.
- Make sure that your current providers accept Medicare. I'm sure they probably do but it is best to check.
- Medicare Advantage Plans are not bad but nothing in life is free. I know that you have been bombarded by these advertisements but take a deep dive into the details if this is something you want to consider. If you can afford the supplement mentioned above, do it!
- Original Medicare isn't going to cover your prescriptions. You are going to need a Part D Prescription Drug Plan. Even if you aren't taking anything today, you will want to have coverage in the future if things change. These plans go off where you live and the specific prescriptions that you take. Make sure that your favorite pharmacy is in-network or consider which others are that are close by.
- Medicare won't cover dental and vision like you previously had with your employer. You can get an individual policy that will provide you with both dental and vision benefits.
- You will need to revisit your Medicare coverages annually. Every fall there is an Annual Enrollment Period and that is when we need to check your prescriptions and plan for the upcoming year. Plans change what they cover so it is best to be proactive each year.
There might be little things I would add but the above information would get them off to a great start. Will they have questions later on? Of course! It's a good thing their son will be there to take care of them 😉
If you are looking for someone to treat you like family and guide you through the Medicare process, I would love to meet with you. Give me a call at (417) 717-0303 and we'll find a time to get together.
Our goal is to make Medicare simple - let us know when we can help!