Medicare Basics

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by Advice Chaser
by Advice Chaser

Health insurance is a complex matter no matter what age you are, but turning 65 triggers a new phase of insurance management that can be tricky to understand. Like most federal programs, Medicare is complicated with what it covers and what it won’t, in addition to the ever-changing costs and regulations surrounding it. Don’t wait until retirement to figure out what you’ll need in the future. Join us for our webinar with more information about Medicare on July 28 at noon Pacific time.

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What Is Medicare?

Medicare is federally-funded health insurance for adults over 65 which also covers some younger adults with disabilities. While Medicare doesn’t cover everything, various parts of Medicare can help pay for hospital visits, doctor services, or prescriptions. 

Generally, you won’t have to pay for some parts of Medicare if you or your spouse paid Medicare taxes for at least ten years. Other Medicare elements do require that you pay premiums.

The most important expense to keep in mind is that Medicare does not cover long-term care such as:

  • Hearing exams and aids
  • Eye exams and glasses
  • Dental care and dentures
  • Overseas medical care
  • Cosmetic surgeries
  • Massage therapy

Your Options

There are three parts to Medicare which cover different types of medical services:

  • Part A: Hospitals, nursing facilities, hospice
  • Part B: Doctor services, outpatient care, medical supplies, preventative services
  • Part D: Prescription drugs, including recommended shots and vaccines

If you are receiving Social Security benefits when you turn 65, you are automatically enrolled in Medicare Part A and B. If you want to receive Part D, you need to enroll in it yourself. 

For those who are not receiving Social Security at their age of eligibility, you need to sign up through the Social Security Administration website. You should do this no later than three months after you turn 65 in order to avoid permanent penalties

The combination of Part A and Part B is known as Original Medicare. There is an additional option called Medicare Advantage, often called Medicare Part C. Advantage includes the same benefits, but offered by private insurance companies, and can include additional coverage bundled in, such as vision or dental. 

Remember that Part A is considered emergency coverage and is the bare minimum. 

When to Consider Supplementary Insurance

Private insurance companies offer an additional health policy known as Medigap or Medicare Supplement Insurance. This helps offset some of the costs Part A and Part B don’t cover, including deductibles and overseas health care. However, Medigap still does not provide coverage for long-term care, private nursing, prescriptions, vision, dental, or hearing aids. It also only covers one person, not your spouse.

Buying a supplemental Medigap policy can be the right choice for you if you want 100% coverage. Since you can get a Medigap policy that provides overseas coverage, this is a great option for people who travel a lot or have homes in other countries. 

If you enroll in Medicare Advantage, you aren’t eligible to buy Medigap. If you end up switching back to Original Medicare, you can then pursue a supplemental policy. 

Learn More on July 28

There is so much more to learn about Medicare and how to ensure you and your spouse receive all the coverage you need in your twilight years. An expert financial advisor can help make preparing for the future much easier for you. For more information, be sure to tune in to our webinar on July 28. Join Jaime Gonzales and Nguyen Tran at noon Pacific time, and bring your questions!

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