By Bonnie Tapscott, Independent Licensed Agent and Business Owner
About the time your 64th birthday has come and gone (maybe a month or so), you will start receiving all kinds of Medicare mail. When you reach 64 ½ at least one piece of mail will arrive daily until your 65th birthday month. (As pictured above and an actual stack of mail collected from a person age 64…). You will start to receive postcards, letters, 8” X 12” packages with your name and address in the window of the envelope from just about all of the insurance carriers in your state/county, insurance agents and many other pieces pertaining to Medicare. You may even receive a catalog called “Medicare & You 2022.”
Do you want to sort through this?? Do you want to spend hours and days researching plans? Do you want to try to do all of this yourself? Medicare is confusing enough without adding to this confusion. There are seminars available, social programs to educate you on options, but the absolute best option is to spend about an hour & ½ with a Medicare Insurance broker. The agent will find out who your doctors are, find out your prescription plan options based on your prescriptions, dental & eyecare needs, etc. Wouldn’t you rather spend less than 2 hours with an agent who knows what direction to take based on your personal needs? Also, these agents work for you and are available to you on a no-cost consultation and enrollment…Why would you not?
Even if you are currently on Medicare and you don’t work with an agent, it is very important to have an agent in your corner. Every year during Annual Enrollment Period (October 15th-December 7th) you have the opportunity to have your current plan reviewed and it’s your chance to change your plan, if need be. Drug Formularies change, plans add new benefits like Over-the-Counter products, dental, vision, acupuncture, etc., new plans are added to specific counties and even all new ones are added to certain counties.
Those who qualify for Medicare are as follows:
• Individuals Turning 65 years old
• Individuals Who are 65+ leaving their employee health plans (within 60 days)
• Individuals with certain disabilities after receiving Social Security Disability Benefits (and other special circumstances involving disabilities) after 24 months
There are enrollment periods throughout the year based on eligibility and income limits. First there is your Initial Enrollment Period which is when you are first eligible for Medicare. This period consists of the 3 months prior to your Eligibility Month and 3 months following your Eligibility Month.
Then there are Special Enrollment Periods throughout the year:
• Those who qualify for “Extra Help” on their prescription drug costs also known as Low Income Subsidy.
• Those who are Qualified Individuals who get their Medicare Part B premium covered by the state.
• Those who both receive Medicare and Medicaid combined
A Medicare Insurance agent can easily find out whether you qualify for any of the three programs mentioned above. It has been discovered that thousands upon thousands of Medicare Beneficiaries qualify for some of these programs and don’t even know it!
To reiterate the confusion of Medicare, there’s even more to learn as you age into it. Even the Medicare agents learn something new every day (even after several years of doing this)!
Independent Licensed Agent and Business Owner
Tapscott 4 Medicare Insurance
E 59 Queen Avenue Suite 100 Spokane, WA 99207