Separating from your old employer health-coverage and transitioning into Medicare coverage for your primary health insuranc, can be exhausting. You may be unfamiliar with how things work; or, you don’t understand how your new coverage will work. This transition process can be seamless if you know the right steps to take. However, new-to-Medicare beneficiaries in 2020 have some important changes to consider.
New to Medicare – 2020
If you’re celebrating your 65th birthday in 2020, say hello to Medicare! The overload of information can be confusing and Medicare is constantly changing and updating their policies.
When you’re new to Medicare you need to know a breakdown to the basics. You should begin to prepare for the change about 6 months before you turn 65. This includes understanding how and when to enroll in Medicare.
Enrolling in Medicare
New Medicare beneficiaries are given a seven-month window to enroll in Medicare. This window is your Initial Enrollment Period for Medicare (IEP). Your IEP is specific to your birthday month. This period always starts 3 months before your birthday month, the month of, and stops 3 months after you turn 65. During your IEP you may enroll in Medicare Part A and Part B. You may also choose to enroll in Medicare Part D prescription drug coverage at this time.
Medicare offers 3 ways to enroll.
First, the most popular and convenient option is online. You can visit Medicare’s website and fill out an application at any time.
The second way to apply for Medicare is in person at your local Social Security office. To avoid any wait times, call ahead and make an appointment.
Lastly, you can call the Social Security office and request an application over the phone. The Social Security Administration will send you an application via the U.S. Postal Service.
Annual Election Period
Each year Medicare holds their Annual Election Period (AEP) in the fall. The dates are from October 15th through December 7th. During this period, you can look over your Advantage plan or Part D plan and then make changes to them if you want. For example, during the AEP you may change MA or Part D drug plans. You may also use this time to switch from an Advantage plan to a stand-alone Part D drug plan (and vice versa).
Knowing these basic rules for enrolling will help you enroll during the right times to avoid late enrollment penalties. Furthermore, this information will help you choose the right coverage option for you.
As always, if you need additional information or have questions, working with a Medicare agent can certainly help. Agents will help compare plans for you, and ensure you’re choosing the best plan for your medical needs.
First-Dollar Coverage Plans in 2020
Medicare is making some changes starting January 1, 2020. Congress is hoping that by requiring all Medicare beneficiaries to pay their Part B deductible, that patients will stop going to the doctor for every small ailment.
Medigap (Supplement Insurance) Plans C and F, both cover the Part B deductible so the changes will only affect these plans. In turn, members who enroll on or after January 1, 2020 will no longer be able to enroll in Medigap Plan C or F.
All other Medigap plans are available to purchase. If enrollment of either Plan C or F was before 12/31/2019, Medicare is “grandfathering in” those beneficiaries. Their coverage won’t see a change as they may keep their plan as it is. This change will only affect those turning 65 on or after 1/1/2020.
Although this change is getting rid of some plan options, hope isn’t lost. Medicare Supplement Plan G is identical to Plan F, aside from one small difference; the Part B deductible which is $185 in 2019.