In the US, there are approximately 10,000 Americans are retiring every day and registering in the US Medicare system. When these retirees enter this medical system, they’ll soon learn that there are numerous parts to Medicare and several methods for signing up.
Have you too, recently retired? If you want to learn more on what is Medicare all about, then this article is for you. This useful guide can help you make informed decisions on this hard-earned privilege.
What is Medicare Insurance?
Medicare is health insurance managed by the federal government to provide US senior citizens, aged 65 and over, with medical care. Medicare allows a patient to cover a portion of the cost for every health care service received and then Medicare covers the rest.
The US Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) states that there are over 55 million people enrolled in the current Medicare system.
What are the Parts of Medicare?
There are several plan options within the Medicare system that supports different retirement living situations. These options include:
Original Medicare Parts A and B
Medicare has two original plans that members can still leverage today. Medicare Part A and B were the first versions of the coverage created in 1965.
What Does Medicare Part A Cover? Part A covers expenses like hospital fees, in-home health care expenses and hospital fees.
What Does Medicare Part B Cover? Part B covers costs like doctor exam co-pays, diagnostic test expenses, and medical-equipment fees.
What’s a Medicare “Gap” Plan?
Another form of Medicare coverage includes Medical “Gap” plans. These “Gap” plans cover the out-of-pocket expenses that Medicare Part A or B can’t cover like medical expenses you have when traveling outside the US.
There are currently ten different Gap Plans available to deliver added benefits above what’s already included in these Original Medicare parts. Gap Plans are purchased from private health insurance agencies.
These companies contract with the federal government to provide this extra coverage on top of Medicare Plan A and B coverage.
Below is a summary of each Gap Plan that you can sign up for when it’s time to retire.
Gap Plan A and B
Gap Plan A pays for extra overnight hospital costs beyond what Original Medicare Plan A pays for. Gap Plan B can cover 20 percent more of any outpatient expenses that aren’t paid for under the Original Medicare Part B.
Gap Plan C
Gap Plan C covers additional medical expenses like hearing and dental exams. In 2020, new Medicare members won’t be able to sign up for Gap Plan C. Medicare members who retired before 2020, however, can still qualify for Plan C benefits.
Gap Plan D
Gap Plan D is additional coverage that pays for self-administered medication costs. Gap Plan D is optional coverage for seniors that was introduced in 2003.
Gap Plan F
Gap Plan F pays for nursing home and hospice co-pays beyond what Medicare Part A cab oat fir, Part F covers approximately 80 percent of any medical emergency costs you might have when traveling outside the US. Part F will also cover all Original Medicare benefits for another year after they’ve been depleted.
Gap Plan K, L, and M
Gap Plan K can cover 50 percent of your co-pays for nursing home and hospice services. Gap Plan L pays 70 percent of the same fees. Gap Plan M will cover an additional 20 percent of these same costs.
Gap Plan G
Gap Plan G pays for hospitalization costs for another 365 days once your original benefits are exhausted. Nursing home and hospice costs and blood transfusion expenses are also covered by Gap Plan G.
Gap Plan N
Gap Plan N pays for lab-work and imaging fees. Plan N can also be used to cover ambulatory service fees as well.
How Can I Sign Up For Medicare?
You can enroll in Medicare in three different ways. New members can sign up either by phone, in person or online. Here’s more on all three ways to enroll.
Enroll By Phone
Enrolling by phone includes two easy steps. Contact your nearest Social Security Administration office and speak with an operator. Phone call enrollments take months to tie up. You may be asked to join another phone appointment on a later day.
After your conversation is through, these operators mail you the proper forms for your signature. Sign the forms and then send them back for processing.
You can also enroll in person at your closest any social security office near you. To begin the in-person process, use the CMS convenient office locator to find the nearest Social Security Administration office.
Schedule an appointment to speak to a benefits specialist to begin processing your forms.
Documentation Necessary to Complete Your Application
You will need certain documentation with you when you confer with a benefits specialist. This information is used to back up your claim for Medicare eligibility. Bring the following documentation with you to your meeting:
- Proof of US legal residency or citizenship
- Completed federal form CMS-L564 (Request for Employment Information)
- Health insurance coverage information
- Employment Information (i.e., W-2 form Social Security card
- Driver’s license and
- Birth Certificate.
From your home computer, you can enroll in Medicare online. From the US Social Security Administration’s website, just click the “Start a New Application” tab to begin filling in your personal information. Once you’ve completed the form, a benefits specialist will review your submission to confirm your eligibility.
Once personal information is entered online, applicants receive a “re-entry” number. These numbers let applicants access their application throughout the process. They can also use their “re-entry” number to check on their application’s status once it’s submitted.
When applications are complete, applicants receive an online summary of their submitted information. Once the online summary is approved, applicants get a receipt to prove their application was submitted.
Check out this Medicare comparison table that charts the different benefits of each Gap Plan. Meet with an insurance agent and learn more about how each Gap plan can augment your retirement lifestyle circumstances.
You can find more advice on what is Medicare all about from our website. Do your research today so that you will rightfully enjoy the benefit you worked your entire career to earn.