Medicare Enrollment




Enrolling in Medicare Part B


Medicare Part B refers to the component of Medicare that covers your medical insurance.  It consists of medically-necessary services not included in your hospital insurance (Part A), like doctor’s services, outpatient care, and some preventive services.  Enrolling in Part B is an important aspect of maintaining continued health and ensuring adequate coverage for a number of your health needs.

Unlike Medicare Part A, however, Part B will cost most beneficiaries a monthly premium, as well as the annual deductible.  In addition to these fees, if you don’t sign up for Medicare Part B when you are first eligible, you may be required to pay a late enrollment penalty, depending on the circumstances surrounding your delayed enrollment.  The late penalty is typically 10% for each year you could have been enrolled, and can be required as long as you are enrolled in Part B.

The best time to sign up for Medicare Part B is, like most parts of a Medicare plan, when you’re first eligible.  If you are receiving Social Security or RRB benefits, you will automatically be enrolled the month you turn 65.  If you choose not to receive Part B, you can opt out.  If you don’t qualify for automatic enrollment and want to receive Part B, you will need to sign up when you are nearing your 65th birthday.

If you previously chose not to sign up (or decided to opt out) but now think you may like to enroll, you will need to take advantage of the general enrollment period.  This period is from January 1 to March 31 of each year, and coverage begins on July 1.  Keep in mind, however, that even if you enroll during this period, you may have to pay the late enrollment fee, unless you qualify for a special enrollment period.

In order to be exempt from this late enrollment penalty, you must qualify for the special enrollment period. If you or your spouse have a group health plan through work, you can sign up for Part B any time during that employment plan or eight months after the month the employment – or the group health plan coverage – ends. You also qualify if you didn’t enroll during your initial eligibility due to health insurance you had when volunteering in a foreign country.  In most cases, if you do qualify for a special enrollment period, you will not have to pay your late enrollment penalty.

The easiest way to receive complete coverage through Medicare is to sign up as soon as you can.  For more information, visit www.medicare.gov, or call Social Security at 1-800-662-1213.

Paying for Your Prescription Drug Plan


Although enrolling in a Medicare prescription drug plan will ultimately save you money, there are some costs involved that you should consider before choosing your plan. Various plans will, of course, charge different amounts depending on the type of coverage you require, but all plans have similar expense categories to consider.

A monthly fee, called a premium, is charged by most drug plans. The specific amount fluctuates according to the plan you choose and does not include premiums paid for Part B of your Medicare. Some drug plans, however, do not charge a premium.

A deductible, charged yearly, is what you yourself will need to pay before your drug plan covers your medications. While some plans don’t have deductibles, the ones that do vary, depending on the plan and the medications required.

A copayment or coinsurance is what you are charged for your prescriptions on top of the deductible, paid partly by you and partly by your plan. Sometimes, your premium covers this cost, up to a specific amount.

Finally, be aware of coverage gaps, when you will be required to pay for your own costs after your plan has used the required amount for covered medication. Even when you cover your own costs, you will need to pay your plan’s monthly premium. Many plans do offer coverage while in the coverage gap, but they might charge higher premiums or limit the brand or type of drugs available to you. Catastrophic coverage can also be used if your drug costs are exceedingly high. After you’ve paid no more than a specified amount for covered drugs within a year, you will only be charged a coinsurance or copayment for you’re the rest of those prescriptions.

To avoid additional costs, apply for your drug coverage when you are first eligible. If you wait, you may be charged a permanent late-enrollment penalty when you join. Contact your intended prescription drug plan for more information.

Signing up for a Prescription Drug Plan


Once you’ve decided to sign up for a Medicare prescription drug plan, you can begin to look at enrolling.  Luckily, it doesn’t need to be complicated.  By following a few simple steps, you can successfully enroll in the prescription drug plan that’s right for you.

The first thing you want to do, of course, is to choose a drug plan that best suits your lifestyle.  Are you attached to a particular brand or would you be content using generic brands?  Do you prefer low deductibles or lower copayments?  Will you need additional coverage for expensive medication?  Consider your costs and needs, research your choices, and make an informed decision.  If you need additional information or help deciding on a plan, you can contact your State Health Insurance Assistance Program.  They will be able to assist you in making a decision, free of charge.  You can also call Medicare for help, at 1-800-633-4227 or visit them online at www.medicare.gov.

After you’ve chosen a plan, you will be able to enroll between November 15 and December 31 of each year.  You can also join a Medicare drug plan when you first become eligible for Medicare or any time you qualify for extra help.  It’s a good idea to sign up as soon as possible to avoid a late enrollment penalty.  You may also be able to receive a lower monthly premium.

There are a number of ways to enroll.  If you are comfortable using the Internet, you may be able to enroll online using the drug plan company’s website or, depending on the plan, Medicare’s website, at www.medicare.gov.  Requesting an application from your chosen Medicare drug plan will allow you to enroll by mail or fax.  You can also call your chosen drug plan or Medicare at 1-800-633-4227.

In order to finalize your decision, you will need to have some specific pieces of personal information ready, like your name, birth date, and address.  You will also need to provide information from your Medicare card.  You may also be asked to provide your social security number, email address, and emergency contact information, but this information isn’t usually required.  After signing up and being approved, you will be sent your information and you can begin to reap the benefits from your chosen prescription drug plan.

New to Medicare? You Should Know…


Medicare is federally run health insurance. It is specifically designed for individuals who are at least 65 years old, as well as people who have End-Stage Renal Disease or who are under 65 with certain disabilities.

Medicare generally has 4 elements: Part A , which represents your hospital insurance, Part B, your medical insurance, Part D, prescription drug coverage plans, and Part C, Medicare Advantage Plans. Part C, of course, can include Parts A, B, and D.

If you’ve been paying into Medicare while working, you are likely eligible to be automatically enrolled in Parts A and B at age 65. In most cases, if you are automatically enrolled in Part A, you don’t need to pay a premium. Part B, however, usually does require a standard, monthly fee.

If you require prescription medication, or think you may in the future, the best time to sign up for Part D is when you are first eligible; three months before to three months after you turn 65. If you wait, you may be required pay a late enrollment penalty. Because there are a number of options in prescription drug plans, consider the available coverage and potential costs of each.

Finally, you’ll need to decide whether you want the Original Medicare Plan or a Medicare Advantage Plan, such as an HMO or PPO. Many Medicare Advantage Plans may charge extra fees but cover a number of additional benefits, such as vision and dental.

By understanding the four parts involved in Medicare, you can ensure you have the coverage you require. Your Medicare plan, through careful, informed decision making, can help you meet your healthcare needs, both now and in the future.

Nearing Sixty-Five? Start Thinking About Medicare


Medicare, the federally run health insurance exclusively for people age 65 or older, as well as people with permanent kidney failure or who are under 65 with certain disabilities, can help provide you with affordable health care both in and out of hospital. It can, if you choose, include medical insurance, hospital insurance, prescription drug coverage and, in some cases, other services such as dental and vision. The coverage you receive all depends on the choices you make when selecting your plan.

There are primarily three categories of health plans for you to consider when choosing your Medicare: Original Medicare plans, Medicare Advantage plans, and other Medicare plans. Within each category, you can select various options to further help you to customize your coverage.

In the Original Medicare Plan, you are able to receive hospital insurance and medical insurance, as well as join a prescription drug plan. You can also buy a Medical Supplement Insurance, or Megagap, policy, in order to cover some of the areas your hospital and medical insurance may miss. You will automatically be enrolled in the Original Medicare Plan, receiving hospital and medical insurance, if you receive benefits from Social Security or the RRB. You can then choose to purchase the additional coverage. While you will likely need to pay a premium for your medical insurance, a premium for the hospital insurance is not usually necessary.

In Medicare Advantage Plans, such as HMOs, you can select a privately run (Medicare approved) health plan. Like the Original Medicare Plan, these health plans cover hospital and medical insurance and provide the option of prescription drug coverage. They also offer additional coverage for services like vision and dental. They can, however, charge copayments, coinsurance, and deductibles for all parts of your coverage. Moreover, they may limit the doctors and hospitals available to you in your plan.

Other Medicare health plans are available in specific areas of the country and work in a way comparable to Medicare Advantage Plans. They include Medicare Cost Plans, demonstrations and pilot programs, and PACE. Each type of plan has a specific set of rules and, in some cases, certain stipulations for joining, so if you think you might be interested in one of these other Medicare health plans, you should contact the ones you are considering to find out more, or visit www.medicare.gov.

Planning Ahead: When to Sign Up for Prescription Drug Coverage


It’s surprising how many people who have Medicare decide not to sign up for the prescription drug coverage available to them when first eligible, making it necessary to, when they later change their minds, pay penalties for late enrollment.

Under normal circumstances, you can only join a Medicare drug plan during specific time frames. The logical time to sign up, even when it seems you may not need it, is when you first become eligible for Medicare; three months prior to turning 65 and three months immediately after. Personal health situations and thought processes change so quickly that planning ahead simply makes the most sense!

You can also apply for coverage between November 15th and December 31st each year, your coverage then beginning on January 1st. If you are receiving Medicare because of a disability, you can sign up for drug coverage three months before to three months after your 25th month of cash disability payments. Some situations, however, allow you to join a prescription drug program at other times, like if you qualify for extra help, move out of your service area, or live in an institution.

Of course, not all plans cover all medications. It’s essential that, if you do decide to sign up for coverage with Medicare, you research the various plans in order to select the one that best meets your needs.

Evaluating Options: Choosing a Medicare Prescription Drug Plan in 2008


If you have Medicare Hospital Insurance and/or Medicare Medical Insurance, signing up for an additional Medicare prescription drug plan is always a good idea, especially if you spend a great deal of money each year on medication. These drug plans, offered to you through private companies working with Medicare, have different costs and diverse types of coverage. Consequently, finding the right plan can seem daunting when you’re faced with the many options available to you.

A good place to start when choosing a prescription drug plan is by figuring out what type of medication you most frequently purchase. In many plans, medications are organized into “tiers” of various costs. The type of drugs for which you need coverage will affect the tier, or category you fall into, impacting the cost to you. Some plans have more tiers than others. You will also want to make sure the drugs you use most are, indeed, on the plan’s coverage list.

Weigh the overall cost of the plans, considering the medications you will most need covered. Some plans will require a deductible and/or a monthly premium, and some won’t. Additionally, you want to make sure the plans you consider allow you to use pharmacies you are comfortable with. Some will limit accepted pharmacies.

Fortunately, if you’re feeling overwhelmed, there are a number of resources available to you. Online, you can find help at www.medicare.gov. You can also call 1-800-633-4227. Finally, you can call your State Health Insurance Assistance Program.

Whatever you do, don’t let uncertainty about drug plans deter you from choosing the right one for you! Once you find a Medicare prescription drug plan that best suits your needs and are able, then, to better afford the medication you need, you will be on your way to a healthier, happier you.

Medicare Insurance Plans: Different Health Plans for Different Health Needs


Medicare is indeed on of the best health insurance providers in the United States today. Mainly focused in providing health insurance to seniors and to the disabled, you will see that Medicare will be able to provide different kinds of health insurance plans that will suit everyone’s needs.

You need to remember that different Medicare insurance plans have different coverage. By knowing which one to enroll in, you will be able to make the most out of your Medicare and help you get the necessary treatment you need.

The first plan is the Medicare Part A. In this health insurance plan provided by Medicare, it will be able to cover inpatient hospital expenses. This means that if you are hospitalized, Medicare will be able to cover most of the cost you incur while you are being treated in the hospital.

The second plan is Medicare Part B. This particular health insurance plan will be able to cover outpatient expenses which will include the doctor’s fees.

You also have the option to participate in the Medicare Part D where it is commonly known as the Prescription Drug Plan. Here, Medicare will be able to cover the expenses you incur when you purchase prescription drugs. This will mean cheaper drugs that will help you financially when treating your health condition.

Another insurance plan that you can get with Medicare is the Supplemental Insurance Plan or Medigap. In this plan, you will be able to get the deductibles covered. You need to remember that Medicare will sometimes not be able to cover everything. With this plan, you will be able to fill in the gaps that Medicare leaves behind and never worry about the deductibles.

These are just some of the health insurance plans offered by Medicare. With these plans, you can be sure that you will be able to find the right plan for you.

Planning For Later


The statistics for expenses incurred at care giving nursing homes and doctor visits for seniors are quite shocking. Long term care means your bill can go up to $300/day which means that in year you can spend about $50,000 quite easily.

You have three options when it comes to paying for this type of care. The first is to be self insured, the second is public assistance and the third is long term insurance. Read more…

SWKAAA And Medicare In Part D Enrollment


The Southwest Kansas Area Agency on Aging had combined itself with the Department of Health and Human Services and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services for a Medicare Part D Fall Annual Enrollment event on The 12th of December 2007 at Dodge City. The event was held at The Learning Center, 308 West Frontview Street, on US 50 Bypass next to True Value.

People were advised to bring their Medicare cards, their list of medications, dosage and how they were administered. Social Security and SRS was available to check whether beneficiaries could qualify for Extra Help or Medicare Savings Programs. The federal and state programs assisted people with Medicare who were not capable of affording their prescription drug costs. Read more…

Different Cost And Benefit Options In The Medicare Drug Plans


A Part D plan does not have a limit on income, prescription or state of health. To receive Medicare the person only needs to be over 65 or disabled. If one has traditional Medicare, then a Medicare Part D can be opted for through a private drug plan.

There is an open election period that commences 15th November and goes on till 31 Dec and the coverage comes into effect from January 1. Here you select a Medicare Part D prescription plan and get a card for plan members which you use to get prescriptions filled at the pharmacy. To lower costs there are some plans which can be availed by low-income patients. This is called a “formulary”. Here there is a list of specific drugs for selected diseases. These do restrict the choice of drugs but can save money. Read more…

Where Do Internet-Ignorant Seniors Go For Medicare Information?


When you look at the number of seniors who do not know how to operate a computer, let alone find information online, what do they do when they need to find out about enrolling in Medicare or Medicaid programs? Well, in Florida, they go to the public library.

If you need information about the latest Medicare Part D program or if you want to know how to apply for it and you are not computer savvy, the library will offer you the best possible resources. It is amazing just how much a qualified librarian can help and guide you along when it comes to filling forms or finding out more about any particular program. Read more…

How Seniors Choose Medicare Plans


A professor of Harvard University with a team of qualified people set about trying to find out how exactly seniors go about choosing their Medicare plans with a randomized study. This is of special significance right now because there are at least 24 million American senior citizens who have opted for the Medicare Part D prescription drug coverage. This enrolling process has gone on over two years because this is the open enrollment period which is due to end on the 31st of December this year.

It is likely that this huge lot of elderly people will choose from among 40 different plans. How they choose is a question of eternal amazement and it was to get some kind of a fix on this that this study was done. Read more…

December 31 Last Day For Medicare Part D


Till the end of the year, you can chop, change or add to your Medicare plans for 2008. The Medicare Part D program has been working well for Medicare beneficiaries and the success rate so far stands at 86%. Till December 31st, beneficiaries can enroll for this program or they can make changes to the one they have already, according to the Department of Public Health and Social Services.

Come January 1, 2008 and the new plans will be put into place. What beneficiaries should do is to take stock of their current health plans with Medicare and compare them with the options that they have now. The Medicare Part D plan is a federal program that subsidizes prescription drugs for the ones who enroll. Read more…

The Rite Aid And WellPoint Alliance Means A Lot More Information Dissemination


The announcement on November 15 by WellPoint Inc. and Rite Aid Corporation could mean that many more people who are eligible for Medicare, especially senior citizens, could hope for lot more information during the open enrollment period.

This collaboration means that printed material will be made available at over 5100 participating pharmacy stores across the country. The materials available provide comprehensive information in clear, concise language so people can make an informed choice when it comes to healthcare for themselves or their families. Read more…