Most people look forward to becoming eligible for Medicare, but “aging in” to the program can be intimidating. There’s a lot to learn! We hit the streets to find out what some Medicare-age folks really think of the whole process.
Rebecca knows the basics, “I know that when I turned 65, I was able to partake of Medicare that I had paid into for years.”
And Linda found the process a bit confusing, “It should be a lot more simple,” she says. “I’m just saying it would be easier for all of us.”
Deborah is a healthcare provider and she admits it could be more clear, “I think right now, in terms of my contemporaries, my peers, that will be going on Medicare, they don’t necessarily understand it.”
Definitely do your research, because you generally only have seven months to sign up for Medicare the first time. Your Initial Enrollment Period, or IEP, begins three months prior to the month of your 65th birthday, includes the month of your birthday, and ends three months after your birthday month.
Of course, there are exceptions, like continuing to work past 65, or being covered under a spouse’s plan, or moving states – even counties. Procrastinate and you could end up paying a penalty of an additional monthly fee for life.
Some Medicare-age folks who’ve already been through the process of enrolling shared their advice:
“Maybe start a little early, just so you can get questions answered before the last minute.”
Piers adds, “Perhaps not the simplest thing, but I found somebody who could help me understand the various letters of the alphabet and it then became clear.”
Easy as A, B, C, D
There are four parts to Medicare: Parts A and B, or “Original Medicare” are managed by the federal government. Part A is hospital coverage and
Part B is so-called doctor coverage. But this combo is not your only choice.
You also have the option to enroll in a Medicare Advantage Plan or Medicare Part C. These plans are administered by commercial insurers and are backed by Medicare. They are often low-to-no cost, limit out-of-pocket expenses, and offer additional coverage like prescription drugs, vision and dental, gym memberships, transportation, or stipends for over-the-counter needs.
Only need prescription drug coverage? Then a Medicare Part D Plan is for you.
Even learning the lingo can be a lot. Just ask Linda, “It is overwhelming and confusing,” she says.
“Trying to figure out the donuts and all that stuff,” adds her Medicare-age counterpart.
That’s where Millennium Medicare Connect and our trusted Medicare Navigators at Healthshare360 can help. You have questions and we’ve got your answers.
Linda offers some final words of wisdom, “Be patient and it’s a journey, but you can get your answers.”