Healthcare becomes more affordable and easier to manage in retirement, right? You just sign up for Medicare, pick a prescription plan, and enjoy lower fees than you did in your working years.
For many clients, navigating Medicare’s complexities is a shocking part of retiring. Instead of simple answers or obvious choices, the healthcare program can bring unanticipated confusion and costs. But, you don’t have to go it alone.
Our team at Safe Money Solutions helps clients understand:
- What Medicare will and won’t cover
- How to pick prescription coverage based on your specific healthcare needs
- What out-of-pocket expenses to expect
- Which healthcare gaps you will need to fill
As your healthcare needs change and the laws governing Medicare evolve, you may need to change your coverage to avoid paying unnecessarily high fees. We will work with you to regularly revisit your Medicare decisions and help ensure they still reflect your current needs and any plan changes.
“My wife and I saved over $2,000 a year when we went on a Medicare Advantage Program with Hollie. Since then, she has become our Financial Guru. We have gained interest every year and will never run out of income. Needless to say, we trust Hollie implicitly.”
Medicare has four parts:
- For Hospital, skilled nursing and hospice.
- This is FREE.
- For Doctor's Office visits, labs, X-Rays, MRIs.
- Important to sign up on time for Part B as there is a 10% penalty per year when not signed up for on time.
- This has a premium.
- A Medicare Advantage Plan and a different way to access Medicare.
- It pays instead of Medicare and must be bought through a private insurance company.
- It MUST cover Parts A & B and many of the plans include a Part D plan.
- Has a premium.
- A Medicare Prescription Drug Plan (PDP) that must be bought through a private insurance company
- Important to sign up on time for Part D as there is a 1% penalty per month when not signed up for on time. This roughly equates to $3 per month for the rest of your life.
- Has a premium
- Medicare Enrollment:
Initial Enrollment is to enroll in Part B and sign up for the premium (currently $134.00 for most people), and to choose your other accompanying plans to be able to pay for all of your medical bills and meds.
- 7 months total: 3 Months before, the month of and 3 months after turning 65. OR Upon leaving a company paid group insurance: 63 days from date of separation.
Medicare Supplement (MS) or Medigap insurance:
- Enrollment period is a 6-month period which begins, first day of month when you turn 65 and enrolled in Part B, but you also have 3 months before you turn 65 to sign up.
- Must be purchased during initial enrollment for Guaranteed Issue. Includes after separation from Employment. (see chart)
- Otherwise, may choose to apply at any time during the year, but must answer health questions.
Under Original Medicare:
Doctor Charges Medicare Allows Medicare Pays Your Responsibility
$700 $200 $160 $40
- You can elect to not have a supplement to your Medicare, but you run the danger of uncapped medical bills. A supplement would pay at least a portion of your part if not all. Plan F is the most comprehensive Med Sup available (going away after January 1, 2020).
- In comparing MS plans, only look at which plan you want and the price. All plans are STANDARDIZED and companies must pay in a timely fashion. Be careful of choosing the lowest plan because of rising premiums yearly. Seek an experienced Medicare Specialist who can give you all options: Med Sup, Med Advantage, PDP.
Prescription Drug Plans:
- Usually the cheapest part of your Medicare Package in premium: However, if you don't have the correct one EACH year, it can cost you $100s of $$$$. If you take a lot of medication, spend the time to get a review. Plans range in premium from $15-$50, but each formulary - even within the same company is different so co-pays are different.
- Need to be reviewed yearly from October 15-December 7 with effective date of January 1 next year.
Medicare Advantage Companies: (The Part C referenced above)
- These are the alternative to Original Medicare and have several companies and several forms available--PFFS, HMO, PPO: NO HEALTH QUESTIONS OR QUALIFYING- NO DEDUCTIBLES*
- Most have networks and different "advantages" that Medicare doesn't offer, such as gym memberships, eyewear allowance, dental cleanings, transportation or hearing aids.
- Premiums range from $0 to $52 in this area.
- Only available to change during Open Enrollment: October 15-December 7 each year: Annual Disenrollment to go back to Original Medicare January 1-February 14th annually.
- For Veterans, this is a very good alternative to be able to have a second opinion, heart doctor or other hospital available, but to still coordinate with VA.
It's important to review your coverage each year. Last year we had one company leave the area and the three other Medicare Advantage carriers are making changes. Please consult a credible agent who deals in ALL things Medicare.
Also, many doctors and providers are changing the plans they will accept. Again, check with us or your doctor's office.
Medicare page 82: Compare Medigap Policies here.
Medicare page 17: See your Medicare coverage choices here.