Tuesday, September 18, 2012

The Ins and Outs of Medicare

The world of Medicare is one in which is ever changing and always a bit confusing for those embarking on it for the first time. Below is a quick guide to enrolling in Medicare and Supplemental Insurance Plans.

When it comes to Medicare Part A enrollment is fairly easy as this is something you don’t have to actively participate in.  Once you become sixty five you are automatically enrolled in the program if you have elected to receive Social Security or a railroad retirement disability.  If you are holding off on receiving social security it is super simple to fill out and file an application.  You can call and have one sent or go to the government site which offers information about Medicare.

Medicare Part B is also a plan in which participants are automatically enrolled when participants become eligible. Part B of Medicare is one that is optional and can be declined.  Part B requires a monthly premium be paid for coverage.  Remember you may have to apply for coverage if you are not receiving social security are employed by the government or have kidney disease.

You are only able to enroll without penalty if you enroll during open enrollment.  Three months before participants turn sixty five and three months after is the period in which open enrollment for Plan B takes place.  After that or if you previous declined insurance there is a ten percent plan increase per twelve month period you could have signed up but didn’t.  This changes however if participants are covered under a separate group health plan in which case you have up to eight months after that coverage ends as open enrollment for Medicare Part B.

The Medicare Advantage Plan takes the place of Medicare Part A, Part B and Supplemental Medicare Insurance.  You can take part in this plan or stop taken part of the Medicare Advantage program during the annual coordinated enrollment period which is November 15th through the 31st of December.  While Medicare Part A and B are enrolled through Medicare direct the Medicare Advantage plan requires enrollment through individual companies that offer the plan. 

Next is the step involving supplemental plans.  In order to purchase a Medigap policy you must be enrolled in Medicare coverage.  Enrolling in Medigap begins on the first day of the first full month that you are sixty five or have enrolled in Part B Medicare and ends after six months.  This is the period in which an insurance company must waive all exclusions such as pre-existing conditions and accept all participants.  The must also allow your coverage to begin immediately.  After the six months insurers have the right to deny selling you a particular Medigap Supplemental Plan.

This article contains the basic enrollment information for the general arenas for Medicare.  There are other areas to consider such as prescription drug coverage plans, otherwise known as Medicare Part D.  For more in depth information is a good idea to contact an insurance agent that sells Medicare Supplemental Plans.  They will be able to guide you through the complex maze of Medicare and all that encompasses it. 

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