Things You Should Know If You're New To Medicare Insurance

Robin Wells

If you have recently celebrated your 65th birthday or are approaching this age, you are qualified to enroll and reap the benefits of the Medicare insurance program. But, not everyone gets the most out of Medicare programs. 

If you don't know your options and regulations that apply, the process can be daunting, even if you have contributed to the program for years. For example, if you miss the enrollment date, you could be forced to pay a penalty or high premiums throughout your life.

So, whether you are at or approaching 65 or helping your parents understand the process, it's vital to ask the right questions. Here are examples of questions to consider.

What Parts of Medicare Plans Are Available?

Medical insurance plans are divided into four categories that offer varying services. Before picking a program, it's advisable to understand what each part covers. This will assist you in choosing the right coverage depending on your requirements.

  • Part A is a hospital insurance plan covering inpatient hospital stays, certain home health care services, skilled nursing care services in facilities, and hospice care.
  • Part B is a medical insurance policy covering outpatient care, some doctor's services, preventive services, and medical supplies.
  • Part C, also called Medicare Advantage, provides an alternate way to get Medicare benefits. They provide the benefits of both Part A and B and include benefits like dental, vision, and hearing coverage.
  • Part D is a prescription drug coverage for generic and brand-name prescription drugs. Everyone who desires to have this plan must have the primary Medicare policies.

What Services Can't Medicare Pay For?

The primary Medicare plans (A and B) don't pay for coinsurance, deductibles or copays, or medical services offered while you are out of the country. Services like cosmetic surgery, acupuncture, and long-term care aren't also covered. 

However, if you enroll for Part C, some of these services may be included, except long-term care. You can also supplement the original plans with Medicare supplement insurance or Medigap. 

How Can You Sign Up?

If you are getting Social Security, it means you are already enrolled in Part A, and B Medicare plans at 65. You are entitled to receive a Medicare card a few months before your 65th birthday, and the coverage will come into effect on the first day of the birthday month.

If you aren't getting Social Security, you'll be expected to apply for Medicare during one of the annual enrollment periods. Usually, the enrollment duration lasts for seven months and starts three months before the 65th birthday month. It's best to enroll within these three months to avoid having a gap in your coverage. For more information, contact local Medicare services.