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Health Insurance - Are You New to Medicare?
Health Insurance - New to Medicare?

Are you nearly 65?  That means it is time to start planning for Medicare.  Before you dive right in (which you can and should do at age 64 1/2), there are 8 things you should know.

Here are 8 things you should know:
  1. Medicare has 4 parts. 
    • Part A covers hospital care and some home health care.
    • Part B pays for doctor visits and outpatient services.
    • Part C is an alternative provided by private insurance companies.
    • Part D covers prescription drugs. 
             (You may not need all four.)

  2. Didn't enroll early?  You'll pay more.
    Don't delay - the enrollment period begins when you turn 64 1/2.  Enroll by age 65 to avoid penalty fees, which will stay with you for life.

  3. You have probably already paid something.
    Most workers pay about 1.45% of their earnings into Medicare, and employers match that amount.  Dependent on income, some workers may pay more. 

  4. If you earn too much...
    Annual earnings could result in a surcharge that makes parts of your Medicare bill (B and D) higher.

  5. You get FREEBIES!
    Congratulations!  As a Medicare recipient, you earn a free wellness doctor visit every 12 months.  You may also receive a flu sot and other preventive services.

  6. Prescription benefits can change. 
    Your prescription drug benefits can change annually.  A medication that was covered this year may not be covered next year, or the price you pay may change.  According to Joseph Matthews, attorney and author of "Social Security, Medicare & Government Pensions:  Get the Most Out of Your Retirement & Medical Benefits," you should read the information carefully.

  7. Where you live matters.
    Parts A and B typically cost the same regardless of where you live in the U.S., but Parts C and D can vary by state.

  8. Don't do it yourself.
    Because Medicare is so nuanced, it is best to work with a professional to ensure you get the right plan.  Some local agencies offer free consultation to review your options, needs and costs, and help you select the right coverage.  (Content provided by Mountain America Credit Union)
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