What are your Medicare options? When should you sign up? Do you need to sign up? What’s the difference between Medicare Part A, B, C, and D? How much does Medicare cost, and how does it work? My guest Andrea Dover, CPA, lends her Medicare expertise to the podcast. This show breaks down common Medicare questions into three areas:
- How do you sign up for Medicare?
- What are the various components of Medicare?
- Frequent Medicare Questions
This article summarizes much of the discussion with Andrea Dover. Listen to the audio for the complete show.
HOW AND WHEN SHOULD YOU SIGN UP FOR MEDICARE?
- Most people, when they are turning 65, can start signing up 3 months before. This is called the Initial Enrollment Period. This period lasts until 3 months after you turn 65.
- You can sign up at SSA.gov.
- Depending on your current health insurance coverage, you may sign up at 65 or delay. If you have health insurance through work, check with your HR department or benefits provider to verify you won’t need to sign up for Medicare Part B.
- If you don’t sign up at 65 and your current health insurance doesn’t qualify, you may be penalized for your Medicare Part B premium.
- The Open Enrollment Period is every year from October 15th to December 7th. Each year, you can join, switch, or drop a plan.
- Make sure you get a Medicare card, especially if you are signing up for specific Medicare options such as Medicare Advantage or Medicare Supplement Insurance (Medigap).
WHAT ARE THE VARIOUS COMPONENTS OF MEDICARE?
- Part A of Medicare is the hospital coverage, and there is a $0 charge for most people.
- Part B (The Doctor’s/Medical Coverage) is $170.10 in 2022, and in 2023 is $164.90.
- Once you’ve signed up for Medicare Part A and B, you have “Original Medicare.”
- There isn’t a perfect product that fits the needs of everyone.
- You have three options: 1) Original Medicare, 2) Part C, which is the Medicare Advantage, and 3) Medicare Supplement Insurance, also called Medigap.
- There are pros and cons to each of these options.
- Questions to consider: What is your health history? What are your genetics and family health history? Do you regularly take prescription drugs?
- These options can vary from state to state.
- You can have higher Part B Medicare premiums (IRMAA tax) if you have a higher income.
- On average, Medigap policies may be subject to higher premiums than Medicare Advantage plans.
- Medigap plans have an initial guaranteed insurability, meaning you can sign up for whatever coverage you want, no questions asked, without underwriting.
- Later, once out of the guaranteed insurability window with Medicare Supplement Insurance, coverage may be subject to underwriting.
- Part D is your drug coverage. Drug coverage is mandatory, just like Part B.
FREQUENT MEDICARE QUESTIONS
- Can you change plans each year? Yes, during the annual enrollment period.
- Does Medicare cover dental, hearing, and vision? Depending on the plan, these are optional and may or may not be included.
- Do you need drug coverage? Yes, drug coverage of some kind is necessary.
- What is the difference between a PPO vs. an HMO network? See the audio at 37 minutes for details.
- Is there an additional cost to use a broker or agent? No, there is not. You can do it yourself but there is generally no disadvantage to using a broker or agent.
If you would like to reach out to Andrea Dover, CPA about your specific questions and situation you can call or text her at 801-382-7450 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Required Medicare Disclaimer for Andrea Dover: I do not offer every plan available in your area. Any information I provide is limited to those plans I do offer in your area. Please contact Medicare.gov or 1-800-MEDICARE (TTY users should call 1-877- 486-2048) 24 hours a day / 7 days a week to get information on all of your options.