Medicare is an essential part of health care for millions of Americans. As Medicare evolves and changes are made to the program, it becomes more confusing.
We have helped many of our clients navigate Medicare, both as new enrollees and as current enrollees looking to explore their Medicare supplement insurance options. Whatever your situation may be, we are here to help you better understand Medicare and your options.
When Can I Join a Medicare Health or Drug Plan?
When you turn 65, you are eligible to join a Medicare plan. Certain younger people with disabilities and people with end-stage renal disease are also eligible for Medicare.
When you are first eligible for Medicare, you have a seven month Initial Enrollment Period (IEP) to sign up. The clock on this seven-month window starts running three months before your 65th birthday. If you miss your initial enrollment period, there are general enrollment and special enrollment periods we are happy to assist you with.
When enrolling in Medicare, you should take the time to carefully consider your immediate and likely future needs. Before enrolling, feel free to contact us with any questions or concerns. Our Ohio health insurance professionals are experts in the various plans available, and can help you understand the advantages of each.
Choosing Your Medicare Health Plan
You have several options when signing up for Medicare:
- Your first option is Original Medicare, which includes Parts A and B. Part A helps pay the cost of hospitalization, and Part B helps pay the costs of medical services, such as lab fees and physician’s fees. If you choose to enroll in Original Medicare and you would like prescription drug coverage as well, then you need to specifically opt-in to a Medicare Prescription Drug Coverage Plan (Part D).
Unfortunately, there are gaps in Original Medicare coverage, which can leave you paying for any additional expense. We work with several private companies that offer Medicare supplement insurance plans or “Medigap” policies to fill these gaps. These policies are private health insurance plans that cover expenses you may still have after Medicare pays its portion of your medical bills. A major advantage of Medigap policies is that they are guaranteed renewable, which means they cannot be canceled for any reason other than failure to pay the premium.
- Your second option is to join a Medicare Advantage Plan (Part C), which includes Medicare prescription drug coverage. In most cases, however, you must accept the drug coverage that comes with the Medicare Advantage Plan. You cannot purchase Medigap insurance if you are enrolled in a Medicare Advantage Plan. If you have questions on which option is right for you, call one of our Cleveland, Ohio consultants to discuss your health insurance needs.