This short guide primes you with 5 things that you need to know about your Medicare Plan, courtesy of our in-house experts at MediGap Advisors.
Medicare Parts A and B
1.) Medicare Is Not Enough to Cover Your Medical Costs
While Medicare Part A does cover some hospital expenses for free, Part B comes with a monthly cost. In 2021, the standard premium is $148.50 per month. That doesn’t include any costs for a Part D drug plan, copayments, coinsurance, or the Part B deductible.
The result is that most people pay way more out of pocket than they expect to. Planning for these costs is essential for anyone looking to protect their savings account.
2.) The “Gaps” in Medicare Can Be Filled [Medicare Supplement Plans]
With a Medigap plan, it’s possible to get low-cost coverage for the things that Original Medicare doesn’t cover. This includes common out-of-pocket expenses including:
- More time in the hospital if you need it (Original Medicare has a limit)
- Your Part B coinsurance or copayments
- Your Medicare Parts A and B deductibles
- First 3 pints of blood if you need a transfusion
- Foreign travel emergencies (Original Medicare doesn’t cover overseas medical expenses)
There are a number of Medigap plans to choose from, each with a different set of additional benefits.
3.) You Can Get One-Stop-Shop Coverage by Switching to Medicare Advantage
While Medigap plans are standalone, supplementary insurance plans, Medicare Advantage combines the benefits of Original Medicare with the additional coverage you need, all in one plan. In addition to Part A’s hospital care and Part B’s basic doctor services, MA plans can also cover things like vision, dental, and hearing.
4.) The Cost of Your Medicare Could Vary with your Income
Depending on how much you earn, your Medicare could cost more than it does for others. In 2021, the adjusted gross income threshold is $88,000 for individuals and $176,000 for married couples. If you earn above this amount, your Part B and Part D premiums will be more expensive.
5.) Medicare Has Multiple Enrollment Periods You Need to Know About
- Initial Enrollment. Initial enrollment begins three months before you turn 65 and lasts for 3 months after your birthday. If you’re already taking Social Security benefits, you will automatically be enrolled in Medicare Parts A and B during this time. If you have not started Social Security, you will need to enroll yourself.
- General Enrollment. Medicare’s General Enrollment is for people who did not sign up for Part B during their initial enrollment period. It lasts from January 1st to March 31st of each year, with new coverage beginning on July 1st.
- Open Enrollment. The Medicare Open Enrollment period starts on October 15th and lasts until December 7th. This is when Medicare beneficiaries can add Part D, switch to Medicare Advantage, or switch back to Original Medicare.
- Special Enrollment. If you didn’t sign up for Original Medicare because you were still working and covered by your employer’s group plan then you qualify for a Special Enrollment Period. Special Enrollment lasts for 8 months after you lose your group coverage.
Become a Medicare Parts A and B Expert with MediGap Advisors
Looking to learn more about Medicare? Bookmark the MediGap Advisors Blog for up-to-date info and advice about Medicare, Medicare Advantage, Medigap, and retirement planning.
Here are some additional articles on Medicare Parts A and B: The Medicare Annual Open Enrollment Period is Almost Here – What You Need to Know | What’s the Difference Between an MSA and a Medicare MSA Plan?
Here are some additional pages related to this article: Whether You’re New to Medicare or Not, Know Your Medicare Supplement Options | Medicare 101: How Does Medicare Work
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.