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4 Important Facts Seniors Need to Know About Medicare

Medical needs change as people age, and seniors need to plan for health insurance. After your loved one turns 65 years old, he or she may become eligible for Medicare, the national health insurance service. Summit senior care experts discuss 5 important facts your loved one should know about Medicare. 

1. The Initial Enrollment Period Has a Small Window

Although coverage can begin on your elderly loved one’s 65th birthday, it is not a good idea to wait until then to enroll. The initial enrollment period is three months before your loved one’s 65th birthday, and it ends four months after this date. However, if your loved one misses the initial enrollment period, there are other options. You and your loved one can begin researching Medicare and the enrollment process around his or her 64th birthday. 

2. Late Penalties May Apply If the Initial Enrollment Period Is Missed

If your loved one misses the initial enrollment period, he or she can still sign up for Medicare during the general enrollment period. However, a penalty fee will apply. Missing the initial enrollment period could also delay your loved one’s coverage. For example, general enrollment takes place between January 1st – March 31st, but your loved one’s eligibility for coverage does not begin until the following July. It is important to sign up for Medicare as soon as possible to prevent these delays or penalties. 

3. Medicare Becomes Primary Insurer 

Medicare becomes a primary insurer once your loved one turns 65, regardless of whether he or she is enrolled or not. If your loved one has individual insurance, COBRA, or retiree health insurance, Medicare will still become the primary insurer once he or she reaches age 65. 

4. There Are Four Main Parts 

Medicare Part A, Part B, Part C (Medicare Advantage Plans), and Part D are the four main coverage parts. 

  • Part A – This covers most care in the hospital or skilled nursing facility, as well as hospice and home care. People who are considering hiring professional Summit caregivers for their loved ones may want to read more about Part A.
  • Part B – This is referred to as medical insurance and generally covers the following: preventative care, X-rays, hospital outpatient care, required doctor visits, mental healthcare, home health and ambulance services, and medical durable equipment. 
  • Part C – This part of Medicare allows private health insurance providers to offer medical benefits. Medicare Advantage Plans are not provided directly by the government, unlike Medicare. 
  • Part D – This is the prescription drug service insurance option, and it provides seniors with outpatient drug prescription coverage, but only through private insurance companies that have government contracts.

This information can help your loved one benefit from Medicare and may help take care of his or her health needs. For more information on other benefits your loved one can receive by enrolling in Medicare, get in touch with Home Care Assistance. Our dedicated caregivers can provide him or her with the support needed to remain independent and healthy in the comfort of home for as long as possible. To learn more about respite and live-in home care Summit seniors can count on, call a Care Manager at 908.450.9400 to request a complimentary consultation.