What is Medicare?
Medicare is health insurance that the federal government offers to most people 65 and older and some younger people with disabilities. It’s broken down into four different “parts”: A, B, C (or Medicare Advantage) and D.
When you sign up for Medicare you automatically get Part A, which covers hospital bills. But you must enroll if you choose:
Part B –
covers inpatient/outpatient doctor visits, many preventive care services, and medical items such as diabetes testing supplies, home medical equipment and nebulizers.
Part C – also referred to as Medicare Advantage (MA). MA plans are offered by private insurers and cover the same services as Parts A and B, plus some plans offer additional benefits. MA plans that offer prescription drug coverage are referred to as MA-PD plans.
Part D –
prescription drug coverage provided by private insurance plans
If you’re 65 or older (or have a Medicare-qualified disability), and know you’ll have at least one medical prescription going forward, then a Part D plan is something you should carefully consider.
When you turn 65, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) provide you with coverage information you’ll need to get started. Typically, you have 3 months before and after your birthday month to choose a Part D plan. If you don’t enroll when first eligible, you will pay a 1% penalty per month — up to 12% each year.
So if you think you might need Medicare Part D later, you’ll save by choosing a plan now.
During Medicare’s Annual Enrollment Period (also known as open enrollment), which runs from October 15 – December 7, you may change your prescription drug plan for the following calendar year.
Plan details, your healthcare needs and your prescriptions can change — so evaluate your Part D plan each year.
health insurance, Medicare, senior