Insurance – Getting Started & Next Steps

Guide to Choosing a Medicare Plan

Reaching the age 65 will give you automatic Medicare eligibility. But as opposed to popular belief this plan doesn’t come for free, and you need to know its mechanics before actually signing up. It can be insanely expensive if you don’t.

Even after being on Medicare for years, you may still want to review your options annually, making sure that you’re on the right plan. October 5 to December 7 is the yearly open enrollment period, during which you can change your plan if you think it’s necessary.

If you have a Medicare Part D drug plan or a Medicare Advantage plan, it becomes particularly important to go through your options yearly, considering that these two policies change features features from time to time, such as deductibles, copay amounts, covered drugs and the rest.

Medicare plans are split into the following categories:

Part A (Hospital Care, Skilled Nursing, Hospice and Some Home Health Care)

If you have a minimum Social Security work history of 10 years, you pay nothing for this, and your premium amoutn will be determined by your Social Security work credits.

Part B (Doctor Visits, Preventive Care, Outpatient Care And Hospitals, And Some Home Health Care)

In 2018, this is going to average $134 monthly for most beneficiaries with yearly incomes equal to or not exceeding $85,000 ($170,000 for couples), and as much as $428.60 for those who earn more than $214,000 ($428,000 for a couple) annually. Like most people, you might need a Medicap plan aside from Parts A & B.

Part C – Medical Advantage Plan

There are companies in agreement with Medicare to provide Part A and Part B benefits, with some plans also offering coverage under Part D. The premiums will depend on the plan and the region, but the average for the Medicare Advantage plan in 2018 is $30, or 6% lower than a year earlier.

Part D – Prescripton Drugs

Premiums in 2018 average $33,50, which is lower than last year’s $34.70.

The first crucial decision Medicare beneficiaries have to make is whether they should chose traditional coverage (Parts A, B, and D) or a Medical Advantage plan (Part C). Medical Advantage plans have small to no premiums at all, but members usually have to limit themselves to certain hospitals and physicians. Both come with deductibles, copays and coinsurance, where you need to foot a part of the bill.

If you opt for traditional Medicare, simply add a Medicap policy, which is supplemental in that it takes care of whatever Medicare doesn’t. There are 10 types of Medicap policies, each offered by a private company or group, and their costs differ significantly. To determine the best choice, examine each plan carefully.

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