Medicare is great for retirees but it can be confusing to navigate. Ray Martin joins us today, the author of The Nuts and Bolts of Medicare, to explain the basics of Medicare and open enrollment. Signed into law in 1965, around 10,000 baby boomers join Medicare every day. Through the years Medicare has expanded into a comprehensive and successful medical plan. There are now multiple parts of Medicare including Medicare supplements.
What is Medicare “A” and “B”? These are the original foundational parts of Medicare. “A” will cover your hospitalizations, even elective surgeries. You are paying for part “A” through your working years. How much they take out of every paycheck depends on your pay and as long as you’ve paid into the entitlement for 10 years you will receive this coverage when you turn 65.
“B” is going to cover your doctor visits, specialist appointments, lab tests, physical therapy, and more. You’ll pay a monthly premium for this plan and it’s usually around $148. Though this could be higher for higher-income earners. “B” is going to cover about 80% of your medical costs. These general parts of Medicare cover a lot of medical costs, but there are gaps that can lead to big financial bills if you are not careful. That’s where supplemental coverage can come into use.
What they call “Medigap” are supplemental plans that can help cover gaps in your basic Medicare plan. The best offering is Medigap G. It’s on average $200 a month but combined with plans A and B, this is the Cadillac of healthcare.
You’ve probably seen the commercials with the legendary quarterback, Joe Namath. He is selling Medicare Advantage plans letting us know that now, October 15th through December 7th is open enrollment season. So, what is a Medicare Advantage plan? When you sign up for an advantage plan you are signing over your Medicare benefits to the insurance company. In exchange for the plan, you will get coverage through an insurer like Humana. You’ll want to do your research and make sure this type of coverage can support you and where you would like to receive healthcare in the future. Always get and read over your summary of benefits!
If you are just now turning 65 you can enroll for Medicare online at www.mymedicare.com or https://www.ssa.gov/medicare/. You can also call the toll-free number 1(800)772-1213. Make sure you understand the flexibility and limitations of the Medicare open enrollment season. Being confident in your healthcare future is a big part of being confident in your overall retirement plan.
A Brief History of Medicare –
Medicare Handbook –
The Nuts and Bolts of Medicare Book –
Listen to the full episode to learn more or skip around to certain topics.
[0:45]– Our guest Ray Martin
[2:27] – Medicare basics
[4:09] – Part A and B Medicare
[5:44]– True universal coverage
[6:54] – Premium for Medicare
[10:20]– Working past 65
[12:36] – Medicare supplements
[15:22] – Medigap policies
[17:18] – Medigap premium range
[20:19] – Irmaa surcharge
[21:46] – Medicare advantage plans
[27:15] – Advantage plans and out of pocket expenses
[29:45] – Key dates Oct 15th – December 7th
[33:15] – After open enrollment
[36:35] – Big limitations with switching
[37:34] – Part D prescription drug plan
[41:04] – Mistakes to avoid during open enrollment