Coach’s Corner-“Medicare Made EASY!”

Earlier this year (in January), we had a podcast with a guest speaker, followed by a public webinar on the same topic, and the topic was such a big hit, we decided to co-author an article on the subject matter.

 

Well, the same thing happened in September – but this time, on the topic of how to enroll in Medicare – the EASY way – without the hassle, confusion, or all the spam email or spam text messages that come with “applying online.”

 

Can you apply for Medicare and sign up for the appropriate supplement policies on your own?  Sure…

 

Is it possible to pick THE best policy for you (and your spouse, if applicable) without any help at all?  Yep…

 

…but what if there was an easier, better, stress-free way to make it happen?  And what if it didn’t cost anything above and beyond what you’d pay if you applied and did the research all own your own?

 

That’s where Josh Kinzel and Seniority Benefit Group come into the picture.  He’s been specializing exclusively in helping individuals and couples seamlessly work through the Medicare enrollment process, including help with Medicare health plans, Medicare Advantage, Medicare Supplements, and Prescription Drug plans.

 

The most frequent question people have about Medicare is, “Do I have to sign up just because I’m turning 65?” Followed immediately by the comment, “Because I don’t want to be penalized.” While the answer is technically no, it’s often beneficial to at least add some part of Medicare at 65. The various penalties associated with Medicare only come into play if one has a lapse in health coverage after becoming Medicare eligible.

 

If you, or a spouse, are still working and covered by a group health plan when turning 65, you will want to determine whether that group plan is primary or secondary to Medicare. If the group has more than 20 employees, then the health plan remains primary to Medicare. If less, Medicare becomes primary, and you will want to add Medicare as soon as you become eligible upon turning 65.

 

What are the Parts of Medicare?   There are Parts A, B, C, & D.

 

Part A mainly covers inpatient hospitalization and does not have a premium; provided you, or a spouse, have worked 40 quarters in the United States. Due to lack of premium, most people will add this when they are first eligible even if they are still working.

 

Part B addresses outpatient services (i.e. doctor visits, outpatient surgery, physical therapy) and has a standard monthly cost of $148.50. Most people will delay enrollment into Part B if they still have coverage through a large employer (20+ employees).

 

Part C is what’s called Medicare Advantage; health plans offered by Medicare-approved private companies.

 

Part D covers outpatient prescription drugs. Medicare Parts A & B cover about 80% of a medical bill, but they do not cover outpatient prescription drugs.

 

To address both the 20% that Medicare A & B doesn’t cover and prescription medications, you can go one of two ways:

  1. Medicare Supplement (a.k.a Medigap) paired with a Part D Plan or
  2. Medicare Advantage (which normally includes Part D).

 

Medicare Supplements are Federally standardized plans that can cover the remaining 20% that Medicare doesn’t. It does have to be covered by Medicare before the supplement will pay. You can go anywhere that accepts Medicare assignment. These will have a premium based on age and gender. To cover the medications, you would add a Part D plan. This is the “pay me now” approach as you have higher monthly premiums that result in lower out of pockets are you use the plan.

 

Medicare Advantage plans are network-based and require a member to pay a copay for services outside of preventative care which is covered at no cost share.    This type of plan will include Part D.   Many of the options carry a $0/month premium which make them attractive.  This is the “pay me later” approach as you may have no monthly premium but you pay as you use it.

 

As you are making your decisions about what to expect with Medicare when turning 65 and/or retiring, just remember that everyone’s situation is different. Everyone has different needs and wants when it comes to insurance. It’s paramount that you find someone you can trust that can guide you along the way.

 

It’s especially important to talk with someone that is independent of the numerous insurance companies within the market. Josh Kinzel and Seniority Benefit Group are unique in that they represent every major insurance carrier in Ohio and offer unbiased advice between all of them. Moreover, they never charge a fee for their service, as compensation is provided by the insurance companies!

 

Said another way, you get “executive concierge” service, all while avoiding all the hassles of enrolling on your own!

 

Speaking of enrollment… Annual Medicare Enrollment is fast approaching!

 

Those already on Medicare have the ability to review and make changes every year during Medicare’s Annual Enrollment Period (October 15th – December 7th). If you are approaching Medicare eligibility or have been enrolled for some time, this is a perfect time to discuss what options you have going into next year.

 

If you’d like additional education on this topic, check out the Podcast we recorded with Josh Kinzel this past month on iTunes.  If you’d rather watch the episode on your computer, phone, or laptop, click here to check out the Vlogcast version of the episode.

 

Of course, if you’d like to set up a phone meeting or face-to-face appointment with Josh, his contact information can be found by clicking here!

 

‘till next time!

Adam (and Josh!)

Categories: Adam Koos, CFP®, CMT®, Educational Articles

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