As Medicare agents, we understand that transitioning to Medicare can be overwhelming. Here are a few quick tips to help simplify this process:
Tip #1– Don’t Wait
Did you know you can apply for Medicare 3 months before your birth month? This is called your Initial Enrollment Period. As you approach Medicare eligibility, we recommend applying when your Enrollment Period starts so you are not left having to make last minute decisions. This also helps avoid any gaps in coverage and helps facilitate a seamless transition off of your current plan. Those that are already receiving Social Security benefits will be automatically enrolled in Medicare and will receive your Medicare card in the mail several months before turning 65.
Tip #2- Know your Options
When you are Medicare eligible, you can choose between several types of Medicare plans. The two most popular options in North Carolina are Medicare Supplement and Medicare Advantage plans.
Medicare Supplement plans are designed to fill in the holes or gaps in coverage that exist within original Medicare (parts A and B). Out-of-pocket costs with Part A and Part B can pile up, especially if you have a chronic health condition or a medical emergency. Medicare Supplement plans help cover those out-of-pocket Medicare costs and minimize what you pay on medical expenses. These plans do not include drug coverage, so you will need a separate Drug plan (part D) to go along with your supplement.
Medicare Advantage plans (also known as Part C) are an “all in one” alternative to Original Medicare. These plans are offered by insurance companies like Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina. If you join a Medicare Advantage Plan, you still have Medicare. These “bundled” plans include benefits for Medicare Part A (Hospital Insurance) and Medicare Part B (Medical Insurance), and usually include Medicare drug coverage (Part D).
Tip #3- Aim for a Smooth Transition
Once you secure your Medicare plan, it is important to avoid any gaps in your health coverage. Do not cancel any existing coverage until your new plan has begun. If you are enrolled through the Health Insurance Marketplace it is important to remove yourself from that plan once your new Medicare coverage starts. You will not be eligible for any Federal Subsidies through the Marketplace if you are eligible for Medicare.
Tip #4- Seek Help
We know that making decisions on Health Insurance and understanding the Medicare market can be extremely confusing. Seeking help from a licensed agent can be your biggest asset during this transitional period. At NC Health Plans, our Medicare specialists are able to break down your options and simplify these confusing topics. We are just a phone call away! Please call 888-765-5400 to speak with one of our Medicare Specialists today.