Welcome back to our second installment of this two-part article covering everything you need to know about Medicare.
If you missed it, earlier we discussed the basics of what Medicare is and the types of insurance offered, so if you haven’t yet, we highly recommend you go back and read part one.
All caught up? Great, it’s time to move onto how one gets enrolled and the considerations to always keep in mind!
For those already getting Social Security benefits, enrollment for Parts A and B of Medicare is automatic the moment you turn 65. However, because Part B comes with a monthly premium, some choose to save money and cancel enrollment until a later time.
If not receiving Social Security, persons over 65 must enroll for Medicare on their own, and should upon reaching seniority even if covered by another insurance plan. Initial Enrollment, however, is only open during the 3 months before and the 3 months after your 65th birthday month, so if you choose to wait on registration and miss the Initial window, you can always join through General Enrollment (January 1st – March 31st) or change aspects of your plan through Open Enrollment (October 15th – December 7th).
If Medicare taxes were paid at any point, the premium for Part A is free.
All insurances – Medicare, employer, military, union, or veteran benefits included – are known as “payers”. Whenever an individual has multiple insurances, any medical costs will be distributed amongst them up to their coverage limits.
The problem is, each payer covers the cost one at a time, so for optimal coverage, you should coordinate benefits to have your best payer labeled as your primary insurance, and then any additional payers as secondary insurance to tackle what might be left of the cost after coverage limits have been reached.
Remember to inform your physicians that you’re covered by multiple payers so they know where to send the charges! Some doctors mistakenly forget to bill both or in the proper order, so be sure to always double check that medical costs have gone through all insurances before paying out-of-pocket.
A few more additional considerations:
• If you or your spouse are still working into retirement, an employer’s insurance is always listed as your primary, while Medicare will become secondary. Once the employer’s insurance ceases, however, Medicare will be bumped up as the primary payer.
• Retiree health plans are secondary to Medicare unless under 65 with a disability or small employer.
• Last but not least, Parts B and D premiums increase for persons making income above $85,000 for single filers, or $170,000 for joint filers.
Know your options and get the coverage you need; Medicare is a convenient and practical insurance for millions of senior Americans across the nation, so discover the benefits that could be yours today.