In this kind of heat, it’s easy to forget just how fast the year is flying by. Before we know it, it will be fall, and once again time to review our health and investment strategies for the upcoming year.
The Medicare Annual Enrollment Period (AEP) begins on October 15th and extends until December 7th. This is the only time of year that you can switch to Medicare Advantage or enroll in a Prescription Drug Plan.
This season, I’m encouraging all of our clients to consider the Medicare MSA Plan. If you’ve already been thinking about switching to Medicare Advantage, or if you’re just looking for an all-new way to pad your retirement funds, the MSA plan could be a smart move to make for 2024.
What is the Medicare MSA Plan? [Key facts]
The Medicare MSA Plan is high-deductible Medicare Advantage that comes with a consumer-owned Medical Savings Account.
- MSA Plans cover everything that regular Medicare does, and can also include vision, dental, and more.
- Your MSA Plan deposits money into your Medical Savings Account on a regular basis, which you can use to pay for out-of-pocket health expenses.
- Qualified expenses include Medicare premiums, Part D prescription drug coverage, hearing aids, dental work, and a lot more.
- MSA Plans can be a powerful investment tool, especially for people who stay healthy and don’t use their Medicare coverage that much.
There are two parts to an MSA Plan:
Part one: Low-cost Medicare Advantage plan
Your Medicare MSA Plan is a form of Medicare Advantage. This plan is guaranteed to cover all costs that would be covered by Original Medicare (Parts A & B). In addition, it’s possible to add coverage for things like vision, dental, and hearing, all under one low-cost standalone plan.
Should I switch to Medicare Advantage?
The reason that a lot of people appreciate Medicare Advantage over Medigap is the added simplicity. Your MA plan can be set up to cover any other expenses you need, without having to buy a supplemental (add-on) Medigap plan.
Part two: Medical Savings Account (MSA)
The Medical Savings Account (MSA) is what gives the MSA plan not only its name, but also it’s value. This is a personal, tax-advantaged savings account that you can use to pay for qualified medical expenses. From your deductibles and prescription drugs to laser eye surgery, an MSA account can pay for a wide range of medical costs.
But it gets better: With an MSA, it’s Medicare that’s making the deposits, not you. As long as you keep making your monthly premium payment, Medicare will make a lump deposit into your account every year. Then, you can decide how best to spend it.
How to use your Medical Savings Account (MSA) in 3 easy steps
Using your MSA to pay for medical expenses is easy.
- Talk to your Personal Benefits Manager about switching to an MSA Plan this fall.
- After you’re enrolled, you’ll be instructed on how to open your MSA account.
- Your MSA Plan works just like Medicare, except that a portion of your benefits are deposited into your MSA account. When you incur an out-of-pocket medical expense, you can reimburse yourself with tax-free money from your MSA.
- The money leftover in your MSA at the end of the year is yours. The funds in your account can earn valuable dividends over the time, giving you a good incentive to stay healthy.
Schedule an appointment with your Personal Benefits Manager to get started
Questions about Medicare, Medicare Advantage, or the new Medicare MSA Plan? Your Personal Benefits Manager is standing by to make the whole process easier to understand.
Call 800-913-3416 to schedule a free, no-cost consultation so that you’re prepared for AEP. You can also visit the MediGap Advisors Blog for more tips, tricks, and friendly advice on how to maximize your Medicare.
Here are some additional articles on Medicare MSA plans: MSA vs Medigap Plan G: Comparing the Two Best Ways to Supplement Your Medicare | What’s the Difference Between an MSA and a Medicare MSA Plan?|Can You Spend Your Medicare MSA Money on Nutritional Supplements?
Tom Lockwood is a Personal Benefits Manager at MediGap Advisors. Tom has a passion for bringing clarity to those confused about Medicare. He is an authority on Medicare, Medicare supplement plans, Medicare Advantage plans, and Part D prescription drug plans. Read more about Tom on his Bio page.