Retirement and old age come with health issues and doctor’s visits, but they also come with access to Medicare. Medicare is a great system that can help support you with various medical costs, but it can also be confusing to wrap your head around. If you’re close to retiring and have questions about Medicare, read on! Here are four important things you should know about Medicare.
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What does it cover?
Medicare actually comes in three different parts which all cover different things. Part A pays for hospital services, like inpatient hospital stays and nursing care. Part B covers doctor visits and outpatient services, including medical supplies and preventative care. Part D covers the cost of prescription drugs. Medicare pays for up to 80% of all these expenses.
Can I get more coverage?
It might sound great that Medicare pays up to 80% of medical expenses, but if you know how much medical treatments cost, you probably also know that those last 20% can become extremely expensive. A lot of people worry about this and would rather get fuller coverage. This is offered by private insurance companies who sell supplemental Medigap insurance. These supplement policies can cover any gaps that Medicare doesn’t pay for and are well worth looking into. If you’d rather get supplemental insurance to be safe, consult with a Medicare consultant to find the option that’s best for you.
How much does it cost?
The costs of the different parts of Medicare vary. If you or your spouse has paid Medicare payroll taxes for at least 10 years, you will qualify for free Part A. If you don’t qualify, Part A can cost several hundred dollars per month. For Part B, the standard premium is $170.10 per month in 2022, but this can also vary, and it does increase every year. The standard premium for Part D is currently $33 monthly. Your income will impact the amount you’ll pay for Medicare, with people with high incomes paying more. In total, all parts of Medicare can cost about $200 per month or many hundreds. Of course, you can always choose which parts to sign up to as well.
When should I sign up?
If you’re already receiving Social Security benefits, you’re automatically signed up for Parts A and B. If you’re not claiming Social Security, you need to sign up for Medicare yourself. The initial enrolment period is seven months, starting three months the month when you turn 65, and ending three months after that month. It’s advisable to sign up in the three months earliest months to ensure coverage starts when you turn 65. If you’re still covered by your employer’s health insurance, you can delay signing up for Medicare, but should do so no later than eight months after losing your previous coverage. It has different enrolment periods as well, so make sure you know by what date you should be signed up so you don’t have to wait for the next enrolment period.
Those are the basics of Medicares. Sign up for the right coverage at the right time to reap the benefits of affordable healthcare.