Will you or a loved one become one of the estimated 10,000 people enrolling daily in Medicare in the next decade?
Understanding and leveraging federal insurance plans like Medicare to your best advantage can seem overwhelming. We found guidance and resources from the National Council on Aging (NCOA) that answers the top most commonly asked questions about Medicare.
Medicare is a federal health insurance program for people age 65 or older and younger people with certain disabilities. There are specific programs within Medicare that cover hospital insurance (Part A), medical insurance (Part B), extra benefits provided by Medicare-approved companies called Medicare Advantage Plans (Part C) and prescription drugs (Part D).
The seven most commonly asked Medicare questions include:
1. When and how do I enroll in Medicare?
You can enroll in Medicare online here, at your local Social Security office or by calling 800-772-1213 or TTY 1-800-325-0778. The Initial Enrollment Period is a seven-month window that includes three months before and after your 65th birthday plus your birthday month. You may also enroll during a general enrollment period. Visit here for more information.
2. Who is automatically enrolled in Medicare at age 65?
Early retirees receiving Social Security and those with Social Security disability or Railroad Retirement benefits are automatically enrolled in Medicare upon eligibility.
3. Should I enroll if I’m still working and have health insurance at age 65?
If you or your spouse are age 65 and receive benefits through an employer, contact your insurance provider to determine how your coverage may change before enrolling in Medicare.
4. What does Medicare cover?
Medicare covers a wide range of medically necessary and preventative screenings, supplies and procedures. The annual Medicare & You handbook provides a summary of covered services. For coverage details, visit: www.Medicare.gov or call 800-MEDICARE or 800-633-4227.
5. Will Medicare cover me when I travel?
Medicare provides healthcare coverage for people physically located within the US, District of Columbia and US territories.
Medicare Part A may cover medically necessary services abroad at the closest medical facility. Medicare Part B may cover necessary services while travelling by sea within territorial US waters, though typically not when a ship is over six hours from a US port.
If you have supplemental insurance, confirm your medical coverage abroad. You may also purchase travel insurance to help offset emergency care costs abroad.
6. How do I pay for Medicare?
If you receive Social Security benefits, your Medicare Part B premium is automatically deducted from your monthly benefit check. If you don’t yet receive Social Security, you’ll receive a quarterly statement for your premium. Your monthly premium for Medicare Advantage (Part C) or prescription drug coverage (Part D) costs may be paid directly to those plan(s).
7. How can I determine my annual Medicare costs?
You can contact Medicare directly at 800-MEDICARE or 800-633-4227 with questions about enrollment, benefits, payments and more. Or visit: http://www.socialsecurity.gov/medicare or https://www.mymedicarematters.org/.
Read more about common questions and answers about Medicare here.