Frequently Asked Questions About Medicare Supplemental Insurance


 

Do I need to sign up for Medicare or will I be automatically enrolled?
If you signed up for Social Security benefits before age 65, you will automatically be enrolled in Medicare Parts A and B and receive your card about three months before your 65th Birthday.
If you are not signed up for Social Security (not receiving your monthly benefit) you will need to initiate your enrollment.

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How do I enroll in Medicare?
There are three ways to enroll in Medicare:
1.  Face to face at your local social security office.
2.  Call Social Security at 1-800-772-1213.
3.  Apply online at www.SSA.gov.

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What are the Parts of Medicare?
Medicare Part A is your Hospital Insurance
Medicare Part B is your Medical Insurance
Medicare Part C is known as Medicare Advantage
Medicare Part D is your Prescription Drug Coverage

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How do I know what Parts of Medicare I need - do I need to sign up for everything?
The answer to this depends on whether or not you have health insurance somewhere else.
If you or your spouse are still working, or if you have health insurance due to active employment, chances are you only need to sign up for Part A.  You can delay enrolling in Part B to save on the Part B monthly premium.
If you are losing credible health insurance, and meet the eligibility requirements of Medicare, you will need to sign up for Medicare Parts A and B.  This is known as traditional Medicare.
Traditional Medicare does not cover prescription drugs.  Therefore, in order to ensure that you have no late enrollment penalties it is recommended that you sign up for a Part D plan within 63 days of enrolling in Traditional Medicare. 
Additionally, you can enroll in a Medicare Advantage Plan, as these plans typically cover prescription drug coverage.  Keep in mind that even if you sign up for a Medicare Advantage Plan, you will need to sign up for Medicare Parts A and B.

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Is Medicare Free?
Medicare is definitely not free.  You will have some shared costs including a monthly premium for the different parts.
Part A - If you or your spouse worked 10 years or 40 quarters you already paid into the system and there is no premium for Part A.
Part B - There is a monthly premium for Part B based on your W2 income.  In 2018 the starting premium is $134/ month.  If you earn more than $85,000 single or $170,000 joint, you will pay a higher Part B premium.  This is known as IRMAA.  See chart below.



Part C - Medicare Advantage plans have a monthly premium starting as low as $0.  You will also be responsible for co-pays and deductibles along with your monthly plan premium.  Also, keep in mind that you will still need to pay for the monthly Part B premium of $134.00 or higher, even if you choose a Medicare Advantage Plan.
Part D - Your Prescription Drug Plan has a monthly premium that can vary, based on the plan you choose, your zip code and your income.  You may additionally have copays and a deductible to meet.  The national average monthly premium for a drug plan is about $35/month in 2018.

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Do I need to enroll in Medicare if I'm still working?
Just because you become eligible for Medicare Part A and Part B, it doesn't necessarily mean you are required to enroll in both parts. If you currently have health insurance through either your or your spouse's employer, you may not be required to enroll in Parts A or Part B.
However, if you enroll late for Medicare Parts B (Medical Insurance) and Part D (Prescription Drug Coverage), you may incur a penalty tacked onto your monthly premium forever!
To be sure, you need to check with your employer about the plan rules with Medicare.  You should also sit down with a credible Broker to help you navigate the costs of Medicare and compare them to your group health plan costs to see which coverage works best for you - if you have a choice between the two.

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What if I have coverage through my spouse?
If you have coverage through your spouse, you need to check with your spouse's employer to see how the plan rules work with Medicare.

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How does VA coverage effect my Medicare?
The VA offers different types of coverage for Veterans, such as prescription drug coverage.
If you are a disabled Veteran or served during an active war, you will qualify for more extensive coverage than those who served a standard 2-4 years.
Regardless of coverage level, you will still need to apply for Medicare Parts A and B and pay your Part B premium.

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What happens if I don't sign up when I'm eligible?
If you don't enroll in Medicare Parts B and Part D when you first become eligible, you will incur a late enrollment penalty.  This penalty stays with you for as long as you are on Medicare.

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