Approaching 65 years of age and retirement can mean a lot of things, for once, hopefully now you are ready to retire and enjoy life and catch up on things that you were not able to do while taking care of family and children.
It also means you will be introduced to Medicare for your health Insurance for the rest of your life. Unlike traditional Medical Plans, which cover Doctor, Hospital visits and Prescription drugs; Medicare is set up quite differently. You have Part A for hospitals, Part B for doctor visits, Part D for Prescription Drugs and Part C that Includes Part A &B and sometimes D…
You can choose to stay with Original Medicare alone, Add a Supplement or go Medicare Advantage. Your Medicare advantage may or may not cover your drugs. Even the drug plans can vary in cost between Pharmacies.
You can always get this helpful publication Medicare & You issued and updated annually by CMS to help you understand how Medicare works and which way to go.
Also remember, If you still have other Insurance like Veterans Benefits or other Employer-sponsored retirement coverage or you have coverage through a spouse that is still working; you will also need to understand how signing up for Medicare will affect your health Insurance Coverage. A good read on that is Your Guide to Who Pays First also by CMS. Of course, people come in with different circumstances, health needs, special concerns and budget restrictions; That is why we do not like the cookie cutter approach if you have health issues and or need special treatments vs. someone who hardly goes to the doctor. It does make a difference and there are many options.
As explained in the Video, there are two ways you can obtain Medicare Coverage. One way would be Original Medicare which is part A & B then you add you a supplement and a drug plan. This would be the most convenient coverage option, as you get to keep your doctor, choose your hospital and your coverage follows you across state lines. The second option would be Medicare Advantage which is again will cover your doctors and hospitals and in most cases, Part D is also built in the plan. Medicare Advantage plans can and may change from year to year and you are restricted to follow the plan network and rules. In some cases, depending on income and family size, applicants may qualify for Medi-Cal as a secondary insurance for Medicare, in which case the out of pocket costs are greatly reduced.
Medicare Coverage with persons with disability is exactly the same. However, it might be more challenging to find supplement plans (Medigap) so, if that is your case, as much as possible try to enroll in a supplement plan during the initial 6 months open enrollment when you first qualify for Medicare.
Supplement Plans available are plan A,B,C,D,F, H,D,F,G,K,L & N all these plans are designed to cover the remaining 20% that Medicare does not cover at different levels. You can enroll in Medigap plans and dis-enroll at any time; however, in some cases, Medical underwriting may be necessary. On the other hand, enrolling in Medicare Advantage can only happen during open enrollments and if you have a life qualifying event.