Nativagating the Medicare Maze: Simple Tips and 25 Most Commonly Asked Questions
Taking control of your health care
You’ll need to do some homework before you start assessing options and picking plans. Make a list of your doctors and decide how important it is to you that you can continue seeing them once you are on Medicare. Also, make a list of any medications you take so you can make sure any prescription drug plan you select will meet your needs.
Think about your lifestyle. Are you a homebody and never travel outside the U.S.? Or are you an adventurer who goes abroad frequently? Do you split your time between residences and need medical care in different states? All these factors are likely to figure into the decisions you make.
Your financial situation also is important. You’ll learn through this guide that Medicare helps pay for medical care for older Americans and people with disabilities. But it’s not free. You’ll want to choose an option you can afford and build the array of out-of-pocket costs into your budget. And take time to review the ways the federal government can help you pay Medicare’s costs if you can’t afford them.
What Is Medicare?
How the federal insurance program helps older Americans afford health care vital to their well-being.
En español | What is Medicare? For more than 55 years, it’s been the program that older Americans and people with disabilities turn to for their health care coverage. In 2022, it will help more than 61 million people pay for everything from hospital stays to doctor visits to prescription drugs.
At 65, you become eligible for the program — which means you will need to set aside time around that milestone birthday to sift through many options so you can sign up for the coverage that meets your health needs and budget.
It’s up to you to get ready. Unless you are already receiving Social Security benefits and then will be automatically enrolled in the program, you won’t get a letter in the mail reminding you that it’s time to start making these decisions. What’s more, the timetable is specific — and important. You can start signing up three months before you turn 65, and you’ll have until three months after your birthday month to enroll. If you miss that deadline, you may end up paying higher premiums. If you are still working and have employer-sponsored health coverage, you can probably wait to sign up — but more about that later.
- Medicare Open Enrollement
- Do I Qualify?
- Original vs. Advantage
- Coverage Pros and Cons
- How to Sign Up
- What’s Not Covered
- Quiz: Medicare Coverage
- Medicare Costs
- Common Mistakes
- Quiz: Medicare Basics
- Parts A, B, C, D
- 8 Reasons to Change Coverage
You need to pay attention to all of Medicare’s parts: Part A covers hospital and hospice care and some skilled nursing services after you’ve been in the hospital. Part B includes doctor visits and other outpatient services. Part C is Medicare Advantage, which is a combination of Parts A and B — and usually Part D, which helps pay for prescription drugs.
Medicare Open Enrollment 2022
Beginning Tuesday, Oct. 15, 2021 Medicare enrollees have 54 days — until Dec. 7 — to review their medical and prescription drug coverage and make sure the plans they subscribe to best meet their needs.
The decisions you make during this open-enrollment period will take effect in January 2022. After reviewing your options, if you decide to stay with your current coverage you don’t have to do anything. But remember: With a few exceptions, this is your one chance during the year to make changes.
Medicare adapts to the coronavirus
Medicare is also an evolving program. Medicare officials have made changes in some of the program’s rules and procedures in an effort to help enrollees cope with the needs and uncertainties brought on by the COVID-19 crisis.
For example, the federal government said early on in the pandemic that Medicare would cover the cost of coronavirus testing for beneficiaries and also decided that doctors could order tests be brought to enrollees’ homes and administered there. Like all Americans, Medicare beneficiaries will not have to pay to get a COVID-10 vaccine.
Medicare had already expanded its coverage of telehealth in recent years, but the arrival of the coronavirus accelerated the use of remote care. Beneficiaries can now use any of their devices — a phone, tablet or computer — to communicate with their medical providers. Medicare will now cover telehealth visits with nurse practitioners, physical therapists and occupational therapists, in addition to doctors.
Now that you have a taste of what Medicare has to offer, take some time to gain a better understanding of this vital but complex health care program.
New in 2021
- Part A deductible for each hospital stay: $1,484 (vs. $1,408 in 2020)
- Part B monthly premium: $148.50 (vs. $144.60); Part B annual deductible: $203 (vs. $198).
- Part D prescription drug plan average monthly premium: $30.50 (vs. $32.74)
- All beneficiaries can get virtual check-ins with doctors and other health care providers.
Medicare Advantage expands
- More Medicare Advantage plans are offering extra services, including meals at home, rides to health appointments, safety improvements to homes, and nutrition counseling.
Dealing with Coronavirus
- Medicare will pay for COVID-19 testing, and coronavirus vaccines will be free to beneficiaries.
Medicare Compare website
- The program has created a one-stop online tool to help enrollees compare medical providers, hospitals, nursing homes and other facilities.
Fewer Medigap plans
- In 2021, Medigap plans C and F are no longer available for newly-eligible Medicare beneficiaries. Those who have those plans can keep them.
Navigating Medicare should not be feel like a maze but it can be a complicated and confusing process. The amount of anecdotal information concerning choices for Medicare coverage can be difficult to filter. I want to help you learn and understand the basic Medicare benefits from the federal government that you are entitled to and have earned as a worker here in the United States. Medicare is complex, and it can often feel overwhelming when you’re learning about Medicare and shopping around for coverage for the first time. Medicare faces a number of important issues and challenges, perhaps none greater than providing affordable, quality care to an aging population while keeping the program financially secure for future generations. My goal is always the same with everyone or when I am simply writing an article for publication. I want to provide helpful information about Medicare and protect you from unnecessary spending costs. Those already in Medicare or aging into Medicare should be treated with courtesy, dignity and respect at all times. Of course, I won’t be able to answer all the questions in one simple book with only 25 of the most commonly asked questions.
This book is meant to help you sift through some of the noise to get the information you need.
The best overall quick reference guide to understanding your Medicare options.
In this book, you will learn numerous need-to-know gems. Many people are unaware of the dangers that fall at their feet when they decide to retire. If you are not prepared, you can be penalized tremendously. It is shocking what may lay ahead after you have worked all these years paying your taxes as a good American citizen. Try not to be fooled or dismayed! As a licensed agent, I was absolutely shocked at what may lie ahead for our precious seniors. The snowballing effect of these penalties for Part A, Part B, and Part D can really add up to a lot of money. If you do not figure out a plan, it can consume an entire chunk of your social security benefit payment.
BONUS ADD-ON **** Hilarious Jokes for the Elderly
Telling jokes to friends is a great way to get a laugh if the joke is funny enough and reaches the right audience. I certainly hope these jokes tickle your funny bones because the experience of aging is universal.
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Nativagating the Medicare Maze: Simple Tips and 25 Most Commonly Asked Questions
Audrey Childers is a published author, blogger, freelance journalist and an entrepreneur with over a decade of experience in research and editorial writing. She is also the creator and founder of the website the hypothyroidismchick.com. Where you can find great tips on everyday living with hypothyroidism. She enjoys raising her children and being a voice for optimal human health and wellness. She is the published author of : A survivors cookbook guide to kicking hypothyroidism booty, Reset your Thyroid, The Ultimate guide to healing hypothyroidism and A survivors cookbook guide to kicking hypothyroidism booty: the slow cooker way. You can find all these books on Amazon. This blog may be re-posted freely with proper attribution, author bio, and this copyright statement.
Thehypothyroidismchick.com is dedicated to covering health and science news that matters most to our generation. We cover a wide range of stories, but ultimately we are driven by two core values: first, to contribute to our readers’ understanding of what is a very complex and constantly changing field of information, and second, to keep in mind the ultimate “smell test” — we want our stories to be the kind of things you talk about at a bar with your friends. Thehypothyroidismchick.com determines coverage based on relevance, clinical significance, and editorial integrity. We give no priority to commercial considerations, and will always clearly distinguish between factual content, commentary, and opinions to avoid misleading readers with institutional propaganda. and speculation.
There is a war raging against humanity and our earth. We have been passively indoctrinated and so utterly pre-programmed that we do not ask the questions that need to ask. We have laid our trust completely in those in power or someone with a title behind their name. People conditioned blindly believing in things simply because enough people assured us it was true. Infectious diseases have been irradiated but chronic diseases are the new black plague of our modern time. This book is profoundly personal as it represents a mission brimming with meaning. As I reflect on extraordinary truths about our nation’s health history, current, and future, I also offer you wisdom, knowledge, and understanding. We must stop the atrocities if we want to become a healthier nation in the future. We must stop the atrocities if we want the human race to survive. I hope my voice and advocacy will continue to help lead the way and this book will make changes for current and future generations to come. No, I simply do not have all the answers but I have written plenty in this book to make you start questioning EVERYTHING.
What you are about to discover is terrifying.
The Keto Autoimmune Protocol Healing Book for Women: Strengthen Your Immunity, Fight Inflammation and Love Your Incredible Body
A Women’s Holistic Holy Grail Handbook for Hypothyroidism and Hashimoto’s: How I healed my Hypothyroidism and Autoimmune Disorder with Personalized Nutrition
I hoped you’ve been enlightened and not frightened by my latest blog — A tale of recovery to save a woman who caught OCD, Hypothyroidism and an Autoimmune Disorder –
Please follow along with me on this journey of discovery as I share with you my brush of madness with exquisite clarity. Luckily, I was never a quick fix-it junkie where I said no to many suggestions from board certified or certifiable doctors because I felt it in my soul that it was merely a banaide being placed on my issues. The names of certain doctors have been changed because frankly, I don’t want to be sued for proven their lack in their field.
Hippocrates was right when he said: Let they food be thy medicine and thy medicine be thy food.
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