Did you know that you need to sign up for Medicare Part A and/or Part A/B when you turn 65? This must be done within 7 months of turning 65, meaning 3 months before, month of birthday or 3 months afterwards.
If you hadn’t signed up, you can sign up during the General open enrollment between January 1-March 1st.
There are all types of special conditions which allow you to sign up outside of general open enrollment period. You can visit www.medicare.gov site and check on the special conditions section. An example is that you are still covered under your spouse’s healthcare plan. You should sign up for Part A and just note to your doctors that you are to remain on spouses healthcare plan. However, when he stops working, you are allowed to sign up for Part B outside the general enrollment period.
If you are not covered by a spouse and do not sign up at your birthday or general enrollment, you could possibly be charged higher premiums when you do sign up. Again, www.medicare.gov can explain the medicare planning rules.
Now, there are different parts to Medicare as well as a supplemental benefit offered by New York called Elderly Pharmaceutical Insurance Coverage (EPIC).
Part A – This mainly covers hospital, skilled nursing, hospice and home care
Part B – Services and supplies, doctor appointments as well as preventive care, ambulance, clinical and durable needs equipment. There are numerous plans to choose from. Cost compare based upon needs.
Part D – This is your drug plan. Each supplemental drug plan covers different drugs differently. Thus, its important to review your drug coverage on a yearly basis to determine if you have the most cost effective plan for your needs.
Part C – I put this last because this is called a Medicare Advantage Plan. Its a plan that incorporates Medicare A,B,D in one plan.
EPIC – The Elderly Pharmaceutical Insurance Coverage is a New York sponsored plan that helps pay for your out of pocket prescription costs once Part D falls into the gap. Visit the site for additional income.
So, if 65 years old is right around the corner, or even a year away for you, a spouse, or parent, its a good time to visit the medicare site to see the requirements for applying and what you need to do to be prepared.