For many people, turning 65 is a pivotal moment, as they now have reached retirement age and qualify for Medicare. However, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, over the past decade, the number of people working over the age of 65 climbed 52%, which means that employers now have the added complexity of considering Medicare in their employer-provided healthcare decisions. Because of this, more companies are taking steps to coordinate their healthcare coverage options for employees who are eligible for Medicare. Whether or not you need Medicare at 65, it’s always a good idea to begin planning for when you do. In this blog, we’ll cover the steps you need to take to start the planning process.
1. Make a list of your prescriptions.
Document all of your necessary prescriptions and treatments. Then spend some time researching the various types of Medicare policies available where you live and which ones include your prescriptions and treatments.
2. Document past healthcare expenses.
Keeping a record of several years’ worth of healthcare expenses will help you project which types of healthcare you might need and how much they will cost. While you may only require a little bit of healthcare now, it is a possibility that as you age, your healthcare needs will increase.
3. Know which Medicare package best suits your needs.
There are two main Medicare packages to consider: Original Medicare and Medicare Advantage.
- Original Medicare is a fee-for-service program, where beneficiaries can obtain care from any participating provider. Original Medicare includes Part A (hospitals) and Part B (doctors, outpatient, and medical equipment) coverage. You can supplement this with Medigap, state-regulated insurance that covers several things Original Medicare does not. It’s worth noting that people with Original Medicare almost always buy stand-alone Part D (prescription drug) coverage.
- Medicare Advantage plans are sold by private insurers and must offer coverage as good as Original Medicare, though in most cases Medicare Advantage plans offer more inclusive coverage. Some Medicare Advantage plans also offer vision and dental coverage and include Plan D coverage. These plans offer care through their own networks of hospitals, doctors, and other healthcare providers.
4. Understand that Medicare’s Premiums are scaled based on your household income.
For most families, the standard Medicare Premiums will apply, but for others, you may be subject to higher premiums. However, it is important to note that there are ways to request your Medicare premiums to be reduced in some circumstances.
With these four things in mind, applying for Medicare should be less of a hassle and make it easier to transition into your new healthcare coverage.