When signing up for Medicare benefits it is important to know your options and how they might interact with your current healthcare coverage.
For most Americans over the age of 65 the benefits of Medicare are obvious. It provides affordable health care coverage at a time when most people are looking to retire and thus in danger of losing employer provided health insurance.
Unfortunately, signing up for Medicare is not as simple as filling out a single form when you are eligible. You need to know your options and how they relate to other health care coverage.
Recently, the Motley Fool discussed some of the options in "Read This Before You Take Medicare Benefits."
The things to consider include:
- Employer Provided Coverage – If you are still working when you become eligible for Medicare, you need to understand how Medicare benefits will interact with your employer provided insurance. There is not a hard and fast rule, but generally if an employer has fewer than 20 employees, then Medicare will be the primary insurer with the employer provided insurance acting as a secondary insurer. The opposite is true for larger companies. It is important to speak to your current insurer to find out for certain and if that insurer has any policies concerning when you must sign up for Medicare.
- Medicare Advantage – You have the option of signing up for traditional Medicare or Medicare Advantage. Traditional Medicare benefits are administered directly through state agencies and allow the option of signing up separately for Part D prescription benefits. Medicare Advantage plans are operated by private insurers and have prescription drug benefits rolled into them. Depending on your needs one or the other may be cheaper or provide better coverage.
- Penalties – If you do not sign up for Medicare when you first become eligible, then you might face penalties when you do start receiving benefits. Those penalties are different for each part of Medicare.
If you are one who likes to do Internet research, then you will find the Medicare official website helpful.
Reference: Motley Fool (March 26, 2016) "Read This Before You Take Medicare Benefits."
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