If you are going to become eligible for Medicare in 2021, then you are probably looking forward to finally receiving a benefit that has been promised to you for many years. Medicare is a great way for you to lead both a healthier life and keep your medical bills affordable. If you are new to the program, the options might seem confusing. It is easy to get started and we are here to help.
Here at SWFL Insurance, we believe that every Medicare participant—whether they have Original Medicare, Medicare Advantage, Part D, Medigap or other benefits—should get the most out of their coverage from day one. Let’s look deeper into things you should keep in mind when you are new to the Medicare system.
Finalizing Your Enrollment
Even once your Medicare benefits take effect, there are still a few loose ends to tie up. A few last-minute steps to take include:
- Filing a disclosure form that will allow Medicare representatives to speak to another person you trust about your Medicare benefits. This might be a spouse, close family member, or adult child who you can trust to talk to Medicare on your behalf, if you can’t do so yourself.
- Determining your billing cycle and choosing how to make your premium payments. You must continue to pay your premiums to continue to receive coverage. If you have Original Medicare, then you can set up an account at Medicare.gov to pay your premium and receive paperless billing.
- Learning more about your chosen benefits. Each year, you will receive your Medicare & You handbook, which can advise you of how the system will change in the new year, and how these changes might affect you.
- Checking your Medicare card to make sure it includes the correct information, and putting it in a place where you will remember to take it with you whenever you visit the doctor.
Visiting Your Doctor
Once you qualify for Medicare, you will be able to receive care from a nationwide network of physicians, hospitals and other care providers. Doctors within the Medicare network accept Medicare as a form of payment, and your policy will pay its full share of costs when you visit one of these physicians.
When your Original Medicare benefits start, you are entitled to a one-time Welcome to Medicare preventive health visit. At this time, you can see your doctor for a wellness exam, which will help them gather vital health data about you.
Welcome visits are usually free, though you might have to pay certain costs, depending on the tests the doctor orders. This service is only offered during your first year on Medicare, so don’t wait to take advantage of this very helpful perk.
Considering Expanded Medicare Benefits
Original Medicare is the U.S. government’s primary insurance offering for senior citizens and other qualifying Americans. Still, there are many other Medicare benefits on the market that can help you expand upon your coverage. These include:
- Medicare Part D (Prescription drug benefits): Original Medicare doesn’t automatically cover prescription drugs. However, Part D plans are affordable policies that offer prescription coverage and can be added into your Medicare portfolio with your Original Medicare.
- Medicare Advantage Plans: Also called Part C plans, Medicare Advantage Plans are offered as an alternative to Original Medicare. These plans provide all the same benefits of Original Medicare, but also include expanded benefits like dental, vision and prescription drug coverage.
- Medicare Supplements (Medigap plans): Medicare Supplement Plans are offered in addition to Original Medicare Coverage (Parts A and B). Original Medicare might leave outstanding costs, like coinsurance and deductibles, which are the policyholder’s responsibility to pay. However, a Medigap plan will help you cover these costs.
Each of these plans are offered by private insurance companies, but they must meet standards set by Medicare law. Still, they will include their own premiums, coverage networks and cost-sharing rules. Additionally, not all plans are available in all areas.
You must have Original Medicare before you can enroll in any of these benefits, and each has its own enrollment qualifications and timelines. So, if you are interested in getting extra coverage alongside your Original Medicare, then you shouldn’t wait to get started. If you do not enroll in extra coverage during qualifying time periods, then you could be ineligible to buy a plan during other times of the year.
To learn more about enrolling in expanded Medicare options, and for help making sure you get the plan that is right for you, you can rely on SWFL Insurance. Our focus is our customers, and we’re committed to helping every Medicare participant optimize their benefits to their advantage.
Also Read: What is Included in a Medicare Advantage Plan?
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