All types of insurance are complicated to figure out, and Medicare is no less so. There are certain things that may be useful to know if you are thinking of applying for Medicare next year, or if you would like to make changes from an already existing plan. Medicare plans are often altered, with the costs, coverage, pharmacies and providers changing almost constantly. Therefore, this is the period where you can re-evaluate whether a particular plan is good for you or not.
Open Enrollment Period
From the 15th of October to the 7th of December the Medicare Open Enrollment Period will be running. It runs at the end of every year. During this time you can make changes to your Medicare plan, or, if you do not already have a plan, you can sign up for Medicare. Usually, information for next year’s plans is released in October, giving you time to decide whether you would prefer a switch or not. If you apply for Medicare in this period you will be covered from the first of January next year.
During the Open Enrollment Period you can:
- Change your plan from an Original Medicare plan to a 2016 Advantage plan, or vice versa.
- Get drug coverage by signing up for a 2016 Part D plan.
- Get a new Part D plan if you are unhappy with the one you have now, or if circumstances have changed and you need to make adjustments in your plan.
Definitions of Key Terms
Original Medicare: Original Medicare is a health insurance program funded and managed by the federal government. If you are eligible and you get Medicare you have to pay a certain fee. When you begin with Medicare coverage you will have a deductible sum that needs to be paid by you. After this deductible has been paid Medicare steps in and covers a portion of your medical expenses. Medicare pays its share for visits to the doctor, hospital stays, etc, and you pay your share. The amounts are agreed on when you buy the service. Medicare has a Part A and a Part B – Part A covers hospital stays and Part B covers medical costs.
Advantage Plan: The Advantage Plan is similar to Original Medicare but it is provided not by the federal government but by private insurance companies. It has the same coverage as Medicare but may come with a few extra additions. Having the Advantage Plan does not mean you do not have Medicare – you have Medicare but the provider is different and the costs, and the ways in which you pay, are also somewhat different.
Extra Information: Socialized heath care is new to America and has it has not yet taken off. Many Americans have found the entire business confusing. So, let’s get this out of the way. Medicare is not a health insurance policy that everybody is eligible for. Medicare is only for people over the age of sixty-five, and for people under sixty-five who suffer from one, or many, of a number of specified chronic illnesses and/or have a disability. To find out if you are eligible for Medicare go to the Medicare site https://www.medicare.gov/