It's currently open for Medicare (October 15 – December 7), so we wanted to talk about Medicare and Medicare Supplement (Medigap) policies. You are probably familiar with Medicare, or you may be enrolled in it, but the same may not apply to Medigap. If you are considering retirement, approaching the age of 65 or currently enrolled in Medicare, you should continue reading as I will reveal some ways to save.
Who's Eligible for Medicare?
Medicare is a federal health insurance program that covers people 65 and older, some young people with disabilities and those with End-Stage Renal Disease. If you receive Social Security or Railway Pension Benefits when you turn 65, you should be automatically registered with Medicare. In addition to being 65 years of age or older, you must also be a U.S. citizen and permanently resident for five or more years in a row.
If you are over 65 (or turn 65 in the next 3 months) and do not already receive benefits from social insurance, you must register to receive Medicare Part A (Hospital Insurance) and Medicare Part B (Medical Insurance). You will not receive Medicare automatically. There are three ways to register
- Online at https://www.ssa.gov/benefits/medicare/ [1
- Call the national number at 1-800-772-1213 or York office number at 1-888-329-5732
There are very important registration rules. Read more here: https://www.medicare.gov/sign-up-change-plans/how-do-i-get-parts-ab/part-a-part-b-sign-up-periods
What does Medicare cover?
Medicare is available in three parts: A, B and D. Part A covers hospital costs, including inpatient care, care facilities, hospice and home care. Part B covers medical expenses from a doctor, so services from doctors, medical equipment, outpatient care and many preventive services. Part D is drug coverage and will help cover the cost of prescription drugs and recommended vaccines.
It is important to note that Original Medicare only contains Part A and Part B. Part D is something you can add through a private insurance company. These drug insurances are run by private companies, but these companies must follow the rules established by Medicare. Another supplement that you can get through a private insurance company is Medicare Supplement Insurance, also known as Medigap.
So, what is Medigap?
Medigap is supplementary coverage that helps cover the costs of deductibles, co-payments and other gaps. As I mentioned earlier, this coverage is obtained through a private insurance company but each standard Medigap insurance is required to offer the same basic benefits as it is standardized by Medicare.
Below is a chart from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services and the National Association of Insurance Commissioners. It shows the basic benefits of the Medigap policy.
As you can see, there are a handful of Medigap policies available, and as with any insurance you are considering, there are many options, variations and coverages that come into play in your final decision. If you approach 65, you will probably be bombarded with emails and letters from companies offering supplementary insurance. You apparently have a million choices and we understand how overwhelming it can be.
With that said, we suggest that you talk to someone you know, who is local, and understands your needs so that they can help you find the best option. At Keller-Brown Insurance Services, we are happy to help you with this process and have the opportunity to set up virtual meetings for safety and ease.
We also strongly urge those who already have a Medigap policy to review it regularly. As your health and wellness needs change, your needs for different levels of coverage will change. We can also support you with existing policies. As always, feel free to contact us!