Making sense of Medicare can be a challenge for most people, but the annual election period is actually a good opportunity for you to review your loved one’s coverage to ensure you have adequate protection. It’s helpful to know what the different parts mean as well as what exactly Medicare enrollment is. You should also understand enough about your mother’s medical condition and needs to make a sound decision about coverage. Here is a little more information.
The Parts of the Whole
Medicare refers to the federal government program that provides insurance coverage for people who are over sixty-five or disabled. The different parts, A through D, detail what is covered. Not everyone will have Parts B through D, which come with an out-of-pocket expense, but everyone who qualifies does have coverage through Part A. Here is a brief explanation of the parts:
• Part A: covers hospital stays, hospice care, skilled care in a nursing home, and some home health care.
• Part B: for outpatient care, doctor’s visits, some durable medical equipment, and other preventive care.
• Part C: more commonly referred to as a Medicare Advantage plan, this part is your supplemental policy through a private insurer to help cover expenses that are not covered through Parts A and B.
• Part D: the newest kid on the block, it is intended to provide prescription drug coverage. This is also provided through a private company instead of the federal government.
Parts A and B were offered before C and D. As medical expenses continue to skyrocket, the original parts proved to be inadequate. The supplemental policies came into play for seniors to have insurance with affordable premiums that picks up some of the cost Medicare cannot handle.
If you are unsure of your loved one’s coverage, take a look at the red, white, and blue Medicare card. It will detail exactly in which plans your mother has enrolled.
The Annual Election Period
Most private insurance companies offer a brief amount of time when people can adjust their policies. From October 15 to December 7, Medicare enrollment is open for seniors to make changes if needed. They can choose different amounts of coverage, look for lower premiums or deductibles, and make any other decisions to benefit them based on their health and financial needs. Some things you may want to consider include:
• Are your loved one’s specific medications covered?
• What kinds of services does your loved one need?
• Are his or her doctors part of the plan? What about specialist care?
• Is dental or vision coverage available?
• Will mental health coverage be included?
• Can your loved one afford the premiums on a fixed income?
The good news is by reviewing your elderly loved one’s insurance during Medicare enrollment, you can confirm that they can have the coverage they need to preserve their health and wellbeing. Your senior could be entitled to other insurance, such as veteran’s benefits or other retiree programs, so you may want to review these as well before you decide if Part C or D is needed.
This is a simple explanation of what Medicare can cover, and if you need additional information, please visit the Medicare website here or contact your supplemental insurer for further clarification.