How the process works and when to enroll
Q: What is Medicare?
A: Medicare is health insurance for people ages 65 and older. However, there are some exceptions to that rule. Medicare also provides coverage for those with disabilities, who are under the age of 65, if they meet certain criteria. Medicare recognizes those who are under the age of 65 and have illnesses such as Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) , a disability, or end stage renal disease—more commonly known as kidney failure.
Q: What does Medicare cover?
A: There are three main parts that make up the Medicare system.
Part A covers hospitalization. Part B covers outpatient procedures and doctor visits. There are penalties later on if you don’t elect a Part B plan when you start with Part A.
Lastly, Part D is for prescription drug coverage. For Part D, it’s important to check which medications are covered and which are not under the plan you choose, so you can
plan accordingly. There is also is a choice between the traditional “fee for service” Medicare. This option pays for 80 percent of medical costs but you will still need a supplemental insurance plan to cover the remaining 20 percent of financial responsibilities.
The second option is called managed Medicare. Managed Medicare plans are typically offered from private insurance companies. Some examples of managed Medicare
insurers include UnitedHealthcare, or Aetna. But there are many others to choose from, so it’s important to find the right plan for you—that meets both your financial expectations as well as your health needs.
Q: What is not covered under Medicare Parts A and B?
A: Medicare Part A and Part B does not cover the following: acupuncture, cosmetic surgery, dental exams, dentures, eye exams including prescription glasses, hearing aid exams and fittings, as well as long-term care—for those who are unable to perform the daily activities without assistance.
Q: When can I sign up for Medicare?
A: For those of you who are turning 65 this year, it is vital that you investigate your options. If you are already have either a “fee for service” Medicare plan or a managed Medicare plan, you have the ability to make any changes during the enrollment period.
If you decide to make a change to your Medicare plans, your new plan will begin on Jan. 1, 2021. Open enrollment for Medicare began Oct. 15 and ends Dec. 7.
To learn more about Medicare, visit www.medicare.gov or call 1-800-633-4227.