Healthcare costs continue to skyrocket, making it difficult for many Americans, especially seniors, to pay out-of-pocket medical expenses. However, Medicare has been helping seniors afford rising healthcare costs since 1965. So, a few months before you turn 65, make sure to include sign up for Medicare in your “List of Things to Do at 65.”
People 65 years and above and those under age 65 with disabilities are eligible for Medicare. Once eligible, dig up as much information as possible about the options available to you. Medicare is made of several plans, and each covers different aspects of healthcare.
Understanding these plans and their different aspects is essential to make the best-informed decision, especially if you’re doing so for the first time. More options are available for those signing up initially than for people reviewing their coverage during open enrollment. Here are five things you might not know about Medicare.
1. It’s Divided Into Four Different Parts
Medicare is divided into four parts. Part A pays for hospital services. If you or your spouse have paid Medicare payroll taxes for at least 10 years, you are eligible for free hospital services as part of this coverage. Part B pays for doctor visits and outpatient services, while Part D covers prescription drug costs. Part C, on the other hand, offers an alternate way to receive Medicare benefits and is more commonly known as Medicare Advantage.
2. For Many, It’s an Alternative to Traditional Medicare
Medicare Advantage, or Part C, is the alternative to traditional Medicare. Its coverage includes all the services provided by Part A and Part B plans. It also offers supplemental benefits not covered by traditional Medicare, such as vision, hearing, and dental care. Medicare Advantage plans are offered by private insurance companies.
3. Having a Higher Income Means Paying Increased Premiums
If the government pays about 75% of the Part B premium, you, the beneficiary, are responsible for the remaining 25%. Those reporting a higher income to the IRS will have to pay a larger percentage of the total cost. The premiums you must pay typically range from 35%, 50%, 65%, or 80% of the total cost.
4. There are Medicare Cost Changes for 2023
There’s some good news to report. Beginning January 1, 2023, you’ll begin paying reduced premiums for Part B services. The standard monthly premium for beneficiaries will be $164.90, a decrease of $5.20 ($170.10) from 2022. The total annual deductible for Medicare Part B will decrease by $7 in 2023 and become $226.
5. Medicare Open Enrollment Period
Every year, open enrollment in Medicare takes place from October 15 to December 7. You can change your health plan or prescription drug plan during this period. Also, this period provides the opportunity to drop or return to the Original Medicare or switch to a Medicare Advantage plan.
Compare All Your Options Before Choosing a Plan
When it comes to Medicare, digesting all the information isn’t always easy. From the four parts to eligibility and costs, there are plenty of choices to weigh for your health and well-being. Bottom line: Compare the benefits offered by the top plan providers before making a decision and choose a plan that best meets your healthcare needs.