The Medicare program was first signed into law by President Lyndon B. Johnson in 1965. Today, about 15 percent of the U.S. population – 44 million people – are enrolled in Medicare. Current projections place future enrollment at 79 million by the year 2030.
Signing up for Medicare, not to mention understanding exactly how the coverage works, can be an intimidating topic. There are so many rules and even more exceptions, you don’t know where to start your research!
To help you get started, here are six basic facts you need to know about Medicare before you turn 65:
- Know When Your Enrollment Period Starts
Don’t wait until the morning of your 65th to worry about Medicare enrollment. The initial enrollment period starts three months before you turn 65, so make sure you’re ready to sign up right when this first enrollment period begins. You can sign up online at https://www.ssa.gov/, by calling 1-800-772-1213 or by visiting your local Social Security office.
- You’ll Pay Penalties if You Miss Your Enrollment Period
There is one main benefit to enrolling immediately – you don’t have to worry about penalties. While the enrollment period begins three months before you turn 65, it ends exactly four months afterwards. You may have to pay an extra 10 percent for every 12 months, or one percent more every month, depending on the parts you sign up for.
- Collect Social Security? You’re Automatically Enrolled
If you filed to collect Social Security benefits before your 65th birthday, you don’t have to worry about the start and end dates of your enrollment period – you’re automatically enrolled in Part A and/or Part B. Even so, it doesn’t hurt to double check your status just to make sure.
- You’re Eligible for Some Free Services
If you’re enrolled in Medicare, you are eligible for one free well visit every 12 months. You may also receive a free flu shot and a free mammogram. However, if the doctor discovers any conditions that require further treatment, it may require out-of-pocket payments on your part.
- But Medicare Doesn’t Pay for These Services
While Medicare provides a range of covered services, a traditional plan may not resolve all of your healthcare needs. Medicare doesn’t cover dental care, vision care or hearing aids. It also caps long-term care stays at 100 days.
- You Can Supplement Your Coverage
Even if you’re healthy now prior to turning 65, it’s beneficial to look ahead and prepare accordingly. You don’t know what the state of your health may be in a few years. If you sign up for a supplemental plan now, you can take away the stress, both mental and financial, you may feel when you think about the gaps in traditional Medicare coverage.
Want to learn more about how a supplemental Medicare plan can provide the comprehensive coverage you’re looking for? Call My Senior Health Plan today and talk to a specialist who will clearly outline all of your options. Or Click the link below to enter your information for a free Medicare review