Did you know you need private insurance in addition to Medicare? According to a recent survey by Bankers Life and Casualty Company, 72% of baby boomers did not know that most Americans on Medicare pay premiums, copays and deductibles. One in seven thought Medicare was free. Participation in Medicare is mandatory if you want to have health insurance in the United States. You must enroll in Medicare to have supplemental insurance.
Once enrolled, Medicare becomes your primary insurance carrier and will pay your health care bills first before supplemental insurance. What does Medicare cover? There are four main parts to Medicare:
Part A: Hospital Costs, such as inpatient stays, skilled nursing and Hospice
Part B: Outpatient Coverage, such as doctor visits, lab work, outpatient surgeries, physical therapy, home health, chemotherapy and durable medical equipment
Part C: Medicare Advantage: private insurance plans that pay instead of Medicare
Part D: Prescription Drug Plans: offered through private insurance
Medicare enrollment is not automatic unless you have already started receiving Social Security. If you do not enroll in Medicare on time, you may have to pay a late-enrollment penalty. You have seven months to sign up for Medicare. Your IEP or initial enrollment period starts three months before your 65th birthday and ends three months after it.
Visit www.socialsecurity.gov or call the Social Security Administration at (800) 772-1213 to sign up. When you enroll, you will sign up for Parts A & B only. To enroll in Part D, you must choose a prescription drug plan first. You will shop for your Part D plan every year during fall open enrollment. Medicare open enrollment runs from October 15-December 7.
Want to learn more about Medicare? Join us online August 3 at 6:00 PM for our Medicare Webinar. This online seminar will cover how Medicare enrollment works, when to apply, what is and is not covered and how to plan for future health care costs. Dave Neterer, private wealth manager and president of Sterling Financial Management, will present this webinar with special guest speaker Danny Cohen, senior VP for John Hancock Investment Management. RSVP Today! (Danny Cohen and John Hancock are not affiliated with Sterling Financial Management, Inc. or LPL Financial.)