We recently asked two Medicare experts for answers and opinions on popular questions and topics. The following questions and answers were transcribed from our interview posted on YouTube. The Medicare experts we interviewed were LaMonica Thomas and David Ireland.
This article covers the section about applying for Medicare.
How does Applying for Medicare Work?
LaMonica Thomas: okay so let\’s just kind of quickly walk through what Medicare is. Medicare is a national health care program offered through our government. If you\’re disabled or turning 65 you qualify for Medicare. Medicare has two parts; Parts A and B.
Normally, if we\’ve worked all through our lives, we will receive Part A at zero cost, but we are responsible for Part B, which is a monthly premium that we must pay.
The current cost of Part B for most people is around 144 dollars. You must pay this amount every month and everybody\’s a little different. Some people may already be drawing social security and are also about to turn 65. If you are drawing social security already, you will automatically start your Medicare plan.
Medicare will contact you by sending you a red, white, and, blue card with your Parts A and B benefits once you turn 65. People who are disabled, however, have to start social security or disability benefits early.
When this happens, after they\’ve been receiving their SSI benefits for over two years they will automatically go on Medicare. This is how it normally happens but for a lot of people just about to turn 65 thoughts like “OK, I need to start looking at my Medicare options.”
There are two options to start the Medicare process: most people will go to the social security office but the COVID-19 pandemic made online processing more attractive to some. You can go to www.ssa.gov and click the Medicare box to start the process online.
How do Medicare & Medicare Advantage Plans Work?
David Ireland: There are a couple of different types of plans you can get. One is a Medicare supplement that\’s going to be like Plan F or Plan G. There\’s also standalone Part D plans also known as PDPs (prescription drug plans).
There are also Medicare Advantage Plans which are also known as Medicare Part C. So basically once you have your original Medicare plan you can either add on a supplement and/or a standalone Part D drug plan or you can get a Medicare Advantage Plan. But you can\’t get both.
Most Medicare Advantage Plans include Part D prescription drug coverage along with some additional benefits you don\’t get with standard Medicare plans.
Many Medicare Advantage Plans include vision, hearing, and even dental benefits (in some cases). They also come with a very low premium. Some Medicare Advantage Plans are as low as zero dollars per month. Medicare supplements and standalone drug plans are more expensive and come with a monthly premium that you pay every month on top of the part b premium.
If you have high utilization (meaning if you go to the doctor a lot with serious health issues) that may require expensive treatments then a higher premium route might make sense for you.
Selecting a plan, standard or Medicare Advantage, all depends on how how much you\’re spending on health care and what plan really fits your needs.
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About the Medicare Experts
David Ireland is a marketing director with The Brokerage Inc. He started in the Medicare business 11 years ago as an agent and as an agent manager with a large carrier. He now supports independent agents and agencies.
LaMonica Thomas is a licensed Medicare specialist. She has been in the Medicare business for nine years and is now a medicare broker which means she represents different Medicare insurance carriers in order to help her clients find the best plan for their needs.