We receive a lot of questions about original Medicare, Medicare Supplement, Medicare Advantage and Medicare part D plans. A Q and A of the more common questions has been provided below.
Question: When does my original Medicare A and B plan start?
Answer: Generally, Medicare A and B starts the first of the month you turn 65. It never starts on the day you turn 65 unless your birth day happens to be on the 1st. Example: Bob is 65 on July 18th 2013. His Medicare A and B will start on July 1, 2013
Question: Do I need to sign up for Medicare A and B
Answer: If you are currently taking Social Security payments, you will automatically be enrolled in Medicare A and B. If you are not taking Social Security payments, you need to call the social security office and sign up for part B of Medicare or enroll online.
Question: How will I be billed for Medicare?
Answer: If you have elected Social Security payments, the part B premium will be taken out of your check automatically. If you have not elected Social Security, you will be billed quarterly.
Question: How much is Medicare A and B?
Answer: Part A cost nothing if you or a spouse worked at least 40 quarters (10 years) and contributed toward payroll taxes. Part B cost $104 per person (will go up in 2014) and increases for those earning higher incomes.
Question: Do I have to enroll in Part B?
Answer: No, you do not need to enroll in part B of Medicare but you will pay a 10% penalty for every year you are eligible and do not enroll. The exception to this is if you are actively working and receiving health benefits through your employer.
Question: Do I need part B if my employer gives me retiree benefits?
Answer: Its a trick question. If you are retired and getting retiree benefits, you do not have to enroll in part B BUT, you will still have a penalty if you need to enroll in part B down the road. (for example: The employer drops your retiree coverage) The only valid waiver to the penalty is if you are getting benefits and are actively working.
Question: Does Medicare A and B give me drug coverage?
Answer: No, Medicare A and B is for medical only. Drug coverage needs to be purchased through a Part D plan offered by a private insurance company.
Question: What levels of coverage do Medicare A and B provide?
Answer: Generally speaking, Medicare Part A provides hospital coverage and Medicare Part B provides coverage for physicians, testing and other outpatient care. For a full summary click the link MEDICARE A AND B BENEFITS
Question: How do people cover the things that Original Medicare does not cover?
Answer: They can purchase a Medicare Supplement plan (Also called Medigap) and a part D rx plan or they can purchase a Medicare Advantage plan (MAPD plan). Some people stay on A and B only and simply purchase a stand along Rx plan. (More often they take a supplement or MAPD plan however)
Review our MEDICARE FOR DUMMIES blog for additional information