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The Basics of Medicare

Whether you’re new to Medicare, getting ready to turn 65, are well over 65 or a caregiver of someone on Medicare, there is always something to learn about Medicare coverage.  Things to consider are your current doctors, hospital choice, pharmacy access, and do you travel.  The great thing is everyone can access a personalized health insurance counselor at no cost through their local Senior Health Insurance Program (SHIP).

There are four different parts of Medicare: Part A (Hospital Insurance), Part B (Medical Insurance), Part C (Medicare Advantage Plans) and Part D (Pharmaceutical Coverage).  Each of these parts cover specific services.  There are only certain times when people can enroll in Medicare. Depending on the situation, some people may get Medicare automatically, and others need to apply for Medicare. The first time you can enroll is called your Initial Enrollment Period. Your 7-month Initial Enrollment Period is usually:

  • The 3 months before the month you turn 65
  • and the month you turn 65
  • Ends 3 months after the month you turn 65

If you don’t enroll when you’re first eligible, you may have to pay a Part B late enrollment penalty, and you may have a gap in coverage if you decide you want Part B later.  Everyone’s situation is different.

Most people should enroll in Part A when they turn 65.  This is because most people paid Medicare taxes while they worked so they are eligible for premium free Part A. Certain people may choose to delay Part B depending on their or their spouse’s employment situation. Everyone pays a monthly premium for Part B. Most people will pay the standard premium amount of $135.50 in 2019.  The premium may vary depending on your income and when you enroll in Part B.   Prescription drug coverage through Part D varies by cost, coverage, and convenience depending on the medications a person takes. A SHIP counselor can help you chose the right plan for you based on your individual needs.

AgeSmart is hosting Medicare 101 Training for those of you who are new to Medicare,  recent Medicare recipient or caregiver of someone on Medicare. The date for this training is:

July 9, 2019 at 1:00 pm, and an evening session at 7:00 pm

If you are familiar with Medicare and would like to dive deeper into the details, there is a Medicare 201 session.  The date for that session is:

July 24, 2019 at 1:00 pm and an evening session at 7:00 pm

Both trainings are at AgeSmart Community Resources 801 West State Street O’Fallon, IL  62269.  The sessions are free.  Call 618-222-2561 to register.

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