Confused about Medicare?

Confused about Medicare?

 

 
With Medicare it is easy to get confused. Is it really that complicated? Well, yes and no. It helps if you know some basic information.
 
The Four Letters: Medicare is comprised of four components: Part A, Part B, Part C, and Part D.
 
Medicare Part A and Part B: This is the “Original Medicare.” People get Part A (80% hospitalization coverage) free when they turn 65. For most people, Part B (primarily 80% of outpatient care) will cost $104.90 a month. This is deducted from your Social Security check the month before turning 65. Or, if you are not taking Social Security yet, you’ll be paying Medicare quarterly for your Part B coverage until you do draw Social Security. Call Medicare and get that figured out - the sooner the better.
 
Original Medicare has gaps in coverage. Original Medicare has three major gaps. First, prescription drugs are not covered under Original Medicare. Next, parts A and B can have significant out-of-pocket costs , including deductibles to meet , before Medicare starts paying. Lastly, having to pay 20% of what Medicare won’t pay with no cap on annual out-of-pocket costs.
Filling the gaps: When people turn 65 , they’ll have the option to buy a Medicare Supplement Insurance plan (also called MediGap plan) from a private insurance company (like AARP, Mutual of Omaha, Premera, Regence , etc.) , which is designed to cover most or all of the gaps that Medicare Parts A and B don’t cover. The Supplement plans are named A through N; this is one reason it seems complicated. It isn’t as bad as it sounds. This is where I can help explain your options.
 
Medicare Part C: Medicare Part C is also called the “Medicare Advantage” program (also called MedAdvantage plans). In this program people elect to receive their Part A, Part B and Part D benefits entirely from a private insurance company. There is only one in Pacific County. Part C differs from original Medicare in that some plans may include drug coverage. These MedAdvantage plans have co-pays, deductibles and maximum out-of-pocket expenses (in 2012 the average cap was $4,516).
 
Medicare Part D: This is the prescription drug program. Part D is available as a “stand-alone” plan, or may be bundled into Medicare Part C (MedAdvantage plans). Those who opt for Medicare Supplement Insurance will need to enroll in the Medicare Part D program, which provides a separate prescription drug benefit that you purchase from a private insurance company. This allows you to optimize your drug coverage with the best possible plan each year through the Annual Enrollment period. Plans range from $15 a month on up to over $100 a month, some with deductibles and some without – some drugs have no copays and many do.
 
The Annual Enrollment Period (AEP) for Part D drug coverage is from October 15th to December 7th. Saving $600 a year is an opportunity most people would jump at. But, many people don’t exercise the option to make changes during the annual window. Last year the average person saved over $600 by reviewing and updating their drug coverage, according to PlanPrescriber’s 2012 Choice & Impact study. The AEP is the one time of year when people can compare and change their coverage. Tip! To get the most for your money, review your prescriptions with your provider every September, so you’ll be ready in October to purchase a plan that will pay the most for your particular drugs for the coming year.
 
It's possible that you are paying too much for your Medicare Supplement plan and changing that is easy. Did you know that in the state of Washington you are able to move from one company's plan F to another without having to answer any medical questions? Let us check to make sure you are not paying too much for your current plan.
 
Call Stephanie at 360-642-0033 and she’ll gladly check prices,  We do all this without any cost or obligation on your part and we can do it over a cup of coffee.
 
Shelly Pollock
Owner