Medicare is an important health care program for many seniors as they enter retirement and begin their lives as older adults. The program not only covers the cost of many daily costs, it also covers the expense of an emergency room visit or the high price of daily medications. It is a vital program for many seniors who would not otherwise have health coverage, and many people have already begun questioning how to pick the right plan. So, what questions do you need to ask when picking a plan?
When Should You Apply For Medicare?
The best time to consider Medicare enrollment is three months before you turn 65 years old. However, many people decide they want to enroll the month of their 65th birthday or up to three months afterward. This is simply a preference and is completely up to you.
Understanding the Programs and Enrolling in the Right One
In order to enroll in a Medicare program, seniors must first do some research to understand it. There are several different types of programs, known as parts A, B, C and D, for you to choose from.
- Parts A and B
These parts are known as the “original parts.” They are the most commonly enrolled in parts of the Medicare system. Part A helps people pay for hospital bills, while Part B helps to pay medical expenses like routine doctor bills and preventative diabetic, heart or cancer screenings.
- Part C
This is generally referred to as Medicare Advantage. The part is offered through different private insurance companies and is an acceptable alternative to original Medicare parts A and B.
- Part D
This unique part consists of only private insurance plans that are approved by Medicare. They are helpful for those seniors who already have Part A or B Medicare, as part D helps to pay for most prescription drugs.
What Questions Should You Ask Before Picking a Medicare Plan?
When trying to decide on the right Medicare program for your specific circumstances, consider asking the following:
- How much money will have to be spent on deductibles, routine doctor visits or hospital admissions?
- What will your out-of-pocket cost be for prescriptions?
- Will the plan be effective if you get sick while in a different state?
- Are your preferred pharmacies listed on the plan you are considering?
- How much will your annual out-of-pocket expenses be with the plan you are considering?
No matter which plan you are interested in, you must understand exactly what your current Medicare plan options are since the programs are constantly changing. Check with Medicare.gov for more information.