Celebrated your 65th birthday? Close to turning 65? Dreading turning 65? We get it. We also understand the onslaught of solicitation via mail, email and telephone for Medicare-related products and solutions. For the foreseeable future, Medicare is an inevitable part of the retirement discussion. As you plan for healthcare in your twilight years, it’s time to take action. Here are 10 areas of Medicare you should familiarize yourself with now.
- Understand the different parts of Medicare.
Weiss Agency Tip: Medicare. Medicare Supplements. Medicare Advantage. Part A. Part D. What does it all mean, and what’s the difference? Consult a qualified professional organization that employs Certified Insurance Counselors, such as Warren Weiss Agency, who deal regularly with the complicated medicare system and help people transition from working citizen to senior citizen.
- Understand the system.
Weiss Agency Tip: One of the great benefits to Medicare is the fact that it’s a single-payer system. While there are pros and cons to any single-payer system, in our experience, Medicare’s single-payer design can simplify your medical care versus traditional (i.e., “major medical”) health insurance.
- Understand the potential costs.
Weiss Agency Tip: Generally, Medicare is cheaper than major medical health insurance. However, unless you’re prepared, the Medicare terrain can be treacherous to navigate. The process with respect to claims, reimbursements and prescriptions isn’t apples-to-apples with major medical. It’s important to understand exactly what the timelines and expectations are to minimize your financial burden.
- Understand your own health.
Weiss Agency Tip: Your health can be a factor in Medicare. It’s recommended that you schedule a face-to-face meeting with a Medicare expert who’s able to explain the scenarios, answer questions and give you a framework for making a product decision related to your own individual needs.
- Understand how military service might affect your eligibility.
Weiss Agency Tip: If you’re a military veteran, the VA does not make it mandatory for your to enroll in medicare, nor are you required to take advantage of a Medicare prescription plan. However, both offer the sort of policy enhancements that coverage through the VA alone might not.
- Understand the choices in front of you.
Weiss Agency Tip: Got your own personal “Mountain of Direct Mail” on Medicare? You might not necessarily want to trash it. Viable products and valuable offers may await. Consult with a Medicare expert who can help you tell the difference between worthwhile mail and junk mail.
- Don’t procrastinate: Start the conversation now.
Weiss Agency Tip: It’s important to start the discussion in advance of turning 65. Reputable agencies prefer to start examining Medicare options about six months prior to the 65th birthday. In the event you’ve already turned 65, it’s important to call us immediately to begin the process of Medicare enrollment.
- Understand what early retirement could mean.
Weiss Agency Tip: Retiring before 65? It is possible to switch to Medicare in advance. To discuss the scenarios in which that might be applicable, and determine your eligibility, consult a qualified Medicare expert.
- Understand prescription options.
Weiss Agency Tip: Don’t buy prescription plans blindly. Carefully compare prescription drug plans before making any drug purchases. According to AARP, “plans can and do charge widely different copays — a variation that in some cases has exceeded $100, $300 or even $500 for a 30-day supply of the same drug, analyses have shown.”
- Understand whether Medicare is the right choice for you.
Weiss Agency Tip: If you plan to continue working after 65, and your employer has 20 or more employees, it may be worthwhile continuing your company-provided coverage—but if and only if the total benefits are better. On the other hand, if you work for a company 20 or fewer employees, Medicare will almost certainly make the most sense. It’s important to consult with a Medicare expert to make such a determination.