Navigating Medicare can be confusing. But, there are easy steps you can take to ensure Medicare works for you. Choosing the right plan is not only important, but it’s also personal. To sort things out, it’s best to know all your options. Things change, people change, life changes, and plans change. Remember to review your plan and coverage every year.
What is Medicare? Am I eligible?
Medicare is a federal health insurance program that pays for several covered health services. Generally, you’re eligible for Medicare if you or your spouse worked for at least 10 years and contributed to the associated taxes to fund their Medicare benefits, are 65 years or older, and are a citizen or permanent resident of the United States.
I will be 65 soon. Am I required to join Medicare within a specific time frame?
It depends on when you plan on retiring. Many people do not retire when they turn 65. When to join Medicare can vary based on individual needs. Before retiring, give yourself three months to assess your Medicare options. Before joining Medicare, you should consider if your current employer plan is creditable. Health insurance, prescription drug, or other health benefit plan must meet a minimum set of qualifications for Medicare to certify it creditable. You must also evaluate if your plan offers a Health Savings Account and consider if you have dependents you need to have covered.
What are options for employees turning 65 or older?
There are three options. One, you can enroll in a Medicare plan and remain on the employer plan. Two, you can elect to enroll in Medicare and leave the employer plan. Or three, you can choose to stay on the employer plan and delay Medicare.
Is enrollment into Medicare automatic?
No. If you do not receive Social Security benefits before age 65, Part A (which covers inpatient hospital or facility stays) and/or Part B (which covers certain doctor and preventative services and outpatient care) are not automatic. You must enroll in Medicare Part A and Part B.
Can I postpone my Medicare enrollment?
Yes. If you currently have creditable coverage through your employer, you may postpone your Medicare benefits. Contact your employer to find out if you have creditable coverage.
What does Medicare cost?
Enrollees don’t usually pay a monthly premium for Part A coverage if they or their spouse paid Medicare taxes while working. Medicare Part B has a premium that varies based on income.
Need expert advice on health insurance?
Join KUTV and Intermountain Healthcare’s Ask the Expert program on November 13 when experts from the SelectHealth Answer Team discuss health insurance and Medicare. Tips and suggestions will be offered throughout the day on Channel 2 during news and other broadcasts.
If you have more questions, the SelectHealth Answer Team will be answering your phone calls from noon to 5:30 p.m. at 1-877-908-0680. You can also submit questions via Facebook and Twitter using #kutvasktheexpert. The SelectHealth Answer Team can also help during the annual enrollment period for Medicare from October 15 to December 7 by calling 1-800-538-5038.
For more information visit http://intermountainhealthcare.org/asktheexpert.