Get Started With Medicare
Medicare is its own universe with its own jargon, terms, rules, and regulations. This can be intimidating, especially for those of us just starting out. However, signing up for Medicare is a vital step in making sure that you and your family have access to the essential healthcare you need in your golden years. Beware of Medicare scams! Protect your Medicare ID and enrollment information. Read on to learn how to get stared with Medicare.
Learn the Basics
Original Medicare has two parts: Part A and Part B. Part A is hospital insurance, and Part B is medical insurance. Within these two parts, many of the basic health care you will need is covered. There is also Part D, which are prescription drug plans that are purchased separately. Medigap, or Medicare Supplemental Insurance, refers to additional coverage purchased from private insurance carriers that helps pay for the out-of-pocket costs of Medicare. Another name for Medicare Part C is Medicare Advantage. Part C is an alternative to Original Medicare. Private insurance companies offer MAPDs. The federal government does not offer these plans. These are bundled plans that usually include hospital, medical, and prescription coverage. You must enroll in Medicare to qualify for one of these plans.
Prepare to Sign Up – Enroll
Get started with Medicare. Most become eligible at age 65. And, promptly sign up. Individuals receiving benefits from Social Security are automatically enrolled in Part A of Original Medicare. Part A is hospital insurance. When they sign up for Social Security benefits, they have a choice about whether or not to enroll in Part B (medical insurance). Therefore, individuals not receiving Social Security benefits, must enroll in Part A. Enrollment is not automatic for these persons. Here are the easiest ways to sign up:
Online, at Social Security. The website is the easiest, fastest way to sign up and access any financial help you may qualify for.
Call Social Security at 1-800-772-1213. TTY users can call 1-800-325-0778.
You can contact your local Social Security office.
If you or your spouse worked for a railroad, call the Railroad Retirement Board at 1-877-772-5772.
Regardless of method used to get stared with Medicare, beneficiaries receive a welcome packet. The welcome packet includes a Medicare card. After enrollment, it takes about 2-3 weeks for the card to arrive.
New enrollees will receive their Medicare card and start their coverage. It is a good idea to keep the Medicare card private, and only share it with medical professionals if necessary, as there are many scams around filing false claims to Medicare. The majority of doctors and service providers in the nation accept Medicare – about 93%. The most commonly excluded health care professionals, those who opt out of Medicare assignment, are psychiatrists and mental health practitioners, as well as pediatricians. It may also be helpful to give Medicare permission to share your information with someone you trust. They can help if there is ever a medical emergency and you are unable to discuss treatment.
With these three simple steps, you will be well on your way to using Medicare successfully.
The rise of automated and exclusively-online enrollment means that it can be easier to use technology to scam the unsuspecting. Beware of Medicare scams! Protect your Medicare ID and enrollment information. Medicare beneficiaries should always remember that Medicare will not reach out to beneficiaries via call or email unless they are answering their inquiry. Medicare will also never offer free gifts, medical equipment, or any other service for free.
Additionally, beneficiaries on an advantage plan do not need to show their Medicare card to providers. Therefore, best if this card remains in a secure location not on them.
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