Month: January 2020

How To Apply For Medicare

The way in which you apply for Medicare depends on your situation.

The important questions that determine how you apply for Medicare are as follows:

  1. Are you approaching your 65th birthday or are you past your 65th birthday or are you past your 65th birthday?
  2. If you are approaching your 65th birthday, are you collecting Social Security?
  3. If you are past your 65th birthday, do you have creditable health insurance through either your or your spouse’s employer?
  4. If you are past your 65th birthday and have creditable coverage through an employer are you contributing to a Health Savings Account?
  5. Even if you have employer coverage through your employer or your spouse, is your employer coverage or full Medicare the best option for you?

The following are the ways for you to apply for Medicare under various scenarios:

Scenario #1: Approaching your 65th birthday AND collecting Social Security benefits with NO Employer Coverage

If you are collecting Social Security four months prior to the first day of the month in which you turn 65, you will be automatically enrolled in Medicare Parts A and B.

You will receive you Medicare card in the mail approximately 110 days before the first day of the month in which you turn 65.

The first day of the month in which you turn 65 is important because this is the first day of your Medicare eligibility.

There is one exception to this. If your birthday is on the first day of the month, your Medicare eligibility date will be the first day of the previous month.

As an example, if you turn 65 on September 17, 2020, your Medicare eligibility begins on September 1, 2020. You will receive your Medicare card showing around May 10, 2020 – 110 days before your Medicare effective date – showing Medicare Parts A and B with an effective date of September 1, 2020.

On the other hand, if you turn 65 on September 1, 2020, your Medicare eligibility date will be August 1, 2020 and you will receive your Medicare card around April 10, 2020 showing an effective date for Medicare Parts A and B of August 1, 2020.

Once again, these dates only apply if you are collecting Social Security four months prior to your Medicare eligibility date.

Scenario #2: Approaching your 65th birthday AND collecting Social Security benefits with Employer Coverage

As with Scenario #1, if you are already collecting Social Security 4 months prior to the first day of the month in which you turn 65, you will be automatically enrolled in Medicare Parts A and B.

However, if you have health insurance through an employer, whether it is your own employer or a spouse, you may want to remain on the employer coverage.

In this situation, you may want to enroll in Medicare Part A only. Medicare Part A provides coverage for in-patient hospital stays, skilled nursing for the purpose of rehabilitation and home health care.

Importantly, there is no monthly premium for Medicare Part A and, in some situations, Medicare Part A will pay for costs for which you would otherwise be responsible with employer coverage only.

In this situation, assuming the employer through which you have employer coverage has at least 20 employees, you likely do not need both Medicare Part B and employer coverage.

If you choose to keep Medicare Part A after you have been automatically enrolled in Medicare Part A and Medicare Part B, you can return the Medicare card that shows both Medicare Parts A and B and indicate you want to enroll at that time in Medicare Part A only.

You will then receive a new Medicare Card showing Medicare Part A only.

Please know when you do eventually leave your employer coverage, whether voluntarily or involuntarily, you will be able to enroll at that time in Medicare Part B with no late-enrollment penalty using a Special Election Period due to losing employer coverage.

If you are choosing to remain on employer coverage once you are eligible for Medicare and are contributing to a Health Savings Account (HSA) in your name, you will no longer be able to make HSA contributions if you choose to enroll in Medicare Part A only.

For this reason, you may choose not to enroll in Medicare Part A even though there is no monthly premium because you consider the tax-avoidance benefits of the HSA more valuable than the coverage provided by Medicare Part A.lease note this does not apply if your spouse in contributing to the HSA as the employee even though the tax-free HSA funds can be used to pay your health care costs.

Scenario #3: Approaching your 65th birthday and NOT collecting Social Security with NO Employer Coverage

If you are not collecting Social Security four months prior to the first day of the month in which you turn 65, you should start full Medicare when you are first eligible.

You will need to enroll in Medicare Part A Medicare Part B in one of the following three ways:

First, you can apply online at socialsecurity.gov.

Second you can call Social Security at 1(800) 772-1213.

Finally, you can apply in-person at your local Social Security office.

Scenario #4: Approaching your 65th birthday and NOT collecting Social Security with Employer Coverage 

As with Scenario #2, you can enroll in Medicare Part A only in the following three ways:

First, you can apply online at socialsecurity.gov.

Second you can call Social Security at 1 (800) 772-1213.

Finally, you can apply in-person at your local Social Security office.

In this situation, you will need to clearly state you are enrolling in Medicare Part A only.

When you are enrolling online, there is a somewhat confusing part of the online enrollment when a screen asks if you want to enroll in Medicare Part B. While the selection you make depends on whether you want Medicare Part B, there is no corresponding screen asking if you want to enroll in Medicare Part A.

This is because enrollment in Medicare Part A is automatic. However this confuses many people who think they have overlooked a place to enroll in Medicare Part A.

As we discussed in Scenario 2, if you are contributing to an HSA in your name, you will not be able to do so once you are enrolled in Medicare Part A and you may choose not to enroll in Medicare Part A for this reason.

Important exception

Please note, scenarios #2 and #4 assume if you have employer coverage you want to keep it even though you are eligible for full Medicare.

In many situations, depending on the cost and coverage levels of your employer coverage, it is in your best interest to leave your employer coverage and go on full Medicare even though you or your spouse are still working.

In this case, you simply enroll in Medicare Parts A and B as in Scenarios #1 and #3 and notify your employer, or spouse’s employer, you want to leave their coverage to go on full Medicare.

In this situation, you do not have to wait for your employer’s annual enrollment period to make this change as your new eligibility for Medicare provides you the right to leave employer coverage at any time.

I would appreciate the chance to help you understand your Medicare options so you can choose the right Medicare plan for you both now and in the future.

Simply click on the following link below to schedule your free, no-obligation Medicare Supplement Quote

Click here to request your free, no-obligation Medicare Supplement quote

If you are fairly certain of which Medicare Supplement in which you want to enroll, simply click on the following link below to schedule your Medicare Supplement Enrollment Appointment

Click here to schedule your Medicare Supplement Enrollment

 

If you would like to discuss your Medicare options with Charles Bradshaw, simply click on the following link to schedule a free, no-obligation Medicare consultation with Charles Bradshaw

Click here to schedule your free, no-obligation Medicare consultation with Charles Bradshaw

 

If you know of someone who needs help with their Medicare, please share this with them.

I look forward to talking with you soon.

Medicare Supplement Plan N

If you are becoming eligible for Medicare in 2000, there are two primary types of Medicare Supplement plans – or Medigap – which you should consider.

A Medicare Supplement Plan G provides the most coverage and gives you the maximum choice in health care providers.

With Plan G, you pay Medicare’s once-a-year Part B deductible which in 2020 is $198.

After you pay this $198 once during a calendar year, all of your Medicare-covered health services are paid 100 percent for the rest of the year.

You can go to any doctor or hospital anywhere in the country that accepts regular Medicare as almost all do.

A typical Plan G premium in most states is around $110-$120 per month but can be less or more depending on your gender, zip code, marital status and tobacco use.

I usually recommend Plan G for anyone going on Medicare.

The main reason I recommend Plan G the most often is because you can choose any doctor or hospital anywhere in the country without paying anything other than the first $198.

This means that if you ever have a serious health issue, you can go on the internet and search for the doctor or hospital that has the most experience and expertise in your specific condition and get treatment from that doctor or hospital as soon as possible. You can also seek help from your own doctor or other experts in finding the best place for you to receive medical care.

This gives you the best chance for the best health outcome possible.

Plan G gives you the best chance for the best health outcome if you ever have a serious health issue.

Plan N Medicare Supplement is a reasonable alternative to Plan G in which you pay less every month in return for paying a little more out-of-pocket and potentially having less choice in terms of your doctors and hospitals.

Just like with Plan G, with Plan N, you pay Medicare’s once-a-year Part B deductible which in 2020 is $198.

However, there are three additional types of services for which you will pay out-of-pocket with Plan N for which you do not pay with Plan G.

First, with Plan N you pay a $20 co-pay when you go to the doctor. You pay this $20 regardless of whether the doctor is a primary care doctor or specialist.

Second, if you visit an emergency room and are not admitted as an in-patient, you pay a co-pay of $50. If you are admitted as an in-patient you do not pay the $50 co-pay.

Finally, and this is the most important.

Some medical providers charge an extra 15 percent for people with Medicare. This is called Medicare Part B excess.

While Plan G covers Medicare Part B Excess, with Plan N, you will be responsible for paying the extra 15 percent.

Why is this so important?

As you may expect, the medical providers who are the most in demand are the ones most likely to charge Medicare Part B Excess.

As an example, medical providers such as Mayo Clinic and M.D. Anderson Cancer Center and Cancer Treatment Centers of America charge Medicare Part B Excess.

With Plan N, the doctor or hospital that you determine has the most experience and expertise in your specific health situation may also be one for which you will have to pay 15 percent of the cost.

In this situation, you will have to choose between getting care from the doctor or hospital you believe gives you the best chance for the best health outcome and paying 15 percent of the cost yourself or receiving care from a doctor or hospital that does not charge Medicare Part B Excess.

While 15 percent of the cost of an office visit may not be significant, 15 percent of the cost of services such as MRIs, CT Scans or IV-based Chemotherapy can result in hundreds or even thousands of dollars in costs that you have to pay.

However, in most areas Plan N has a monthly premium of $15 to $30 less than Plan G.

Over a year’s time, this is a savings of $180 to $360 per year with Plan N compared to Plan G.

It is unlikely the total doctor visit and emergency room co-pays you will pay with Plan N will exceed the amount you save with the lower premiums of Plan N compared to Plan G.

The choice between Plan G and Plan N really comes down to one decision – are you willing to give up the maximum choice in doctors and hospitals you can have with Plan G, possibly at the expense of your ultimate health outcome, in order to save the several hundred dollars per year you may with Plan N.

As long as you fully understand the differences in cost and in choices of providers, there is no right or wrong decision when choosing between Plan G and Plan N.

I would appreciate the chance to help you understand your Medicare options so you can choose the right Medicare plan for you both now and in the future.

Simply click on the following link below to schedule your free, no-obligation Medicare Supplement Quote

Click here to request your free, no-obligation Medicare Supplement quote

If you are fairly certain of which Medicare Supplement in which you want to enroll, simply click on the following link below to schedule your Medicare Supplement Enrollment Appointment

Click here to schedule your Medicare Supplement Enrollment

If you would like to discuss your Medicare options with Charles Bradshaw, simply click on the following link to schedule a free, no-obligation Medicare consultation with Charles Bradshaw

Click here to schedule your free, no-obligation Medicare consultation with Charles Bradshaw

If you know of someone who needs help with their Medicare, please share this with them.

I look forward to talking with you soon.