If this is your first time getting acquainted with the Medicare program and your options, it only takes one Google search to start feeling a bit overwhelmed! As you approach the age of 65, it seems the amount of information starts to exponentially increase, especially during Medicare Open Enrollment season. It shows up in your mailbox, your voicemail messages, your emails, and every other commercial on television!
It can be incredibly difficult to decipher what your individual options are and understand the Medicare program in general. At JBird Insurance Group, understanding the Medicare program is our life. Our purpose is to help people understand what Medicare is, what choices are available to you, and get you started on a program that matches your individual needs and financial situation. We strive to ensure all the information provided to you is accurate, and we help you understand the timeline of the Medicare program, so you are not penalized. We also help individuals understand what Medicare covers, what it doesn’t cover, and we are very transparent about what each aspect of Medicare costs.
What to Know about Medicare
- You will ONLY be enrolled in Original Medicare Parts A & B via the social security office. Original Medicare has gaps in coverage and this is likely not enough to cover all your medical needs! At a high level, Medicare Part A covers hospital visits and Part B covers doctor and outpatient visits.
- If you don’t enroll at the proper time, you could face penalty charges.
- If you’re still working, Medicare may not be the most cost-effective option.
Six Steps to Get Started with Medicare
Medicare is a fantastic program that helps offset a lot of healthcare-related expenses for seniors. If you’re on our website, you’re already doing a great job of starting your research!
Start with gathering all of your personal health details. Any medications that you take, and any information regarding your employer coverage is helpful to have on hand (if you’re still working). You can even keep your employer coverage and enroll in Medicare to coordinate various medical costs. Each situation is unique and depends on several different criteria.
Remember, you don’t have to walk the Medicare road alone! We’re waiting to help you find the right plan. These are the steps we’ll walk through together:
Do your research and start early!This first step is the most important one. It’s a good idea to start researching Medicare about six months before you turn 65. You need to get an accurate picture of what the different parts of the Medicare program cover to make a wise decision about the right choice for you.
Estimate your costsMost people don’t pay a monthly premium for Medicare Part A, but there are some stipulations. The total cost for Medicare coverage will vary depending on the program you choose. We’ll help you estimate your costs when you meet with us, but you can get a good idea by checking out the tools we have available.
Enroll in MedicareIf you’re already getting benefits through Social Security, you will automatically be enrolled in Medicare Part A and Part B. This process will start about three months before your 65th birthday. If you’re not automatically enrolled, you can enroll on the Social Security website.
Choose your Medicare ProgramThere are two main options to assist with the gaps in coverage from Original Medicare (Medicare Part A and B). You can choose Medigap/Supplement Plans or a Medicare Advantage Plan. The differences are considerable and the benefits vary greatly between the two different options. It’s a good idea to research both options thoroughly before making a decision.
Choose a Part D Drug PlanPrescription drug costs and coverage vary from plan to plan, and coverage is not automatic. Most states have dozens of plans and it is important to choose one that offers your medications at an affordable price. And yes, even if you don’t take prescription drugs now, you must enroll if you don’t have other creditable prescription drug coverage to avoid a penalty. We have an extensive blog with a cheat sheet for Medicare Part D.
Choose your Specific PlanWe are happy to review the different plans, what they offer, and the associated costs with each one, and compare quotes from several different insurance companies to make sure you get the lowest price from a stable company with good financial ratings. We’ll help you understand the difference between a Medicare Supplement and Medicare Advantage plan.
Your Medicare Checklist to Get Started
Our goal at JBird Insurance Group is to help you be confident as you retire and make sure your medical and financial needs are covered. Please check out our downloadable New to Medicare Checklist PDF that has all these steps outlined for you! There’s even a worksheet to help you easily compare costs so you can make an informed decision.
If during this process you have questions or need help, you can contact us at any time! Our service is 100% free and there’s no obligation to talk with us.