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I deserved easy and saved me a great deal of money."

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"easyMedicare made getting the coverage I deserved easy and saved me a great deal of money."

- Joe Theismann

Joe Theismann - NFL MVP and Super Bowl Champion

Medicare and Turning 65 — It’s Time to Plan (Continued)

Medicare Part C

Medicare Part C, also known as Medicare Advantage, is delivered by private insurance companies. At a minimum, Medicare Advantage plans include the same coverage as Part A and Part B — collectively known as Original Medicare.

What makes Medicare Advantage plans so popular is that they typically offer much more than Original Medicare:

  • Dental — Part A will cover some emergency dental services in an inpatient setting. Medicare Advantage plans often include cosmetic, preventive and restorative dental services ranging from cleanings and fillings to dentures and dental implants.
  • Vision — Part A will cover some vision services in a hospital setting and Part B may contribute to eyewear after eye surgery. But for comprehensive vision care, you’ll need the expanded coverage of a Medicare Advantage plan.
  • Hearing — Part B may cover hearing exams ordered by a doctor, but you’ll need a Medicare Advantage plan to get any amount of help in paying for hearing aids.
  • Transportation — Part A covers emergency transportation, but a Medicare Advantage plan may be able to cover your transportation between routine doctor visits and the like.
  • And there’s more, depending on the plan — fitness benefits, over-the-counter coverage, meal vouchers, etc.!

Another major benefit common to Medicare Advantage plans is that they commonly bundle all of your insurance coverage into one package, including prescription drug coverage through Medicare Part D.

Medicare Part D

Depending on the number of medications you take, your biggest insurance expense could be prescription drug coverage. In 2006, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services addressed this major expense by establishing Medicare Part D. While Part B already covered some prescription drugs, those administered by a healthcare professional, Part D added coverage for an expansive amount of outpatient prescription drugs. These prescription drugs include those in “protected classes:”

Antidepressants (manages depression and anxiety), antiretrovirals (manages HIV/AIDS), antipsychotics (manages psychotic disorders such as schizophrenia), antineoplastics (commonly used in chemotherapy), anticonvulsants (manages seizures) and immunosuppressants (used to suppress the immune system).

Along with medications in the protected classes, each Medicare plan will include a formulary — a list of approved and covered prescription drugs. If you take prescription drugs, you’ll want to review a prospective plan’s formulary to see if your medications are covered before signing up for that plan.

Picking Your Parts

The winning combination of Medicare parts for you now turning 65 may look vastly different from the coverage you’ll require a few years from now.

When choosing parts and plans, it’s critical that you account for your current health and finances for today and the near future. You’ll have chances to adjust your coverage throughout the year, so it can be more beneficial to look at the road in front of you instead of focusing too much on what possibilities lie on the other side of the horizon.

FAQ: Do you have to be enrolled in Medicare Part A and B to be eligible for a Medicare Advantage Plan (Part C)?

Yes. While Medicare Advantage adds to the coverage of Original Medicare, you’ll still need to enroll in the core parts of Medicare: Part A and Part B. When it comes to Part A and Part B coverage, the difference between Original Medicare and Medicare Advantage is a matter of who is administering it.

Under Medicare Advantage (Part C) plans, private insurance carriers handle all your coverage, including Parts A and B. However, regardless of what Medicare plan or plans you enroll in, they are ultimately overseen by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). CMS sets the guidelines for how Medicare plans by private insurance carriers can be run.

Ways to Save Money on Medicare Expenses

What if the numbers don’t add up? What if your current circumstances make it difficult or even impossible for you to afford all the Medicare coverage you need?

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services offers several avenues that can help you pay for the coverage you need, helping to improve your quality of life rather than imposing a financial burden that makes life less comfortable for you.

Medicare Savings Programs — administered at the state level, the Medicare Savings Programs are four programs that can help Medicare beneficiaries pay for Part A and Part B coverage. Some of the qualifying criteria for these four savings programs include income, disability and resources. Beneficiaries who are still working may still be eligible for one of the programs.

Medicaid — this joint state and federal program offers assistance in paying for medical expenses for individuals or families with limited income and resources. It can be used to help pay for Original Medicare or Medicare Advantage plans for people who are eligible for both Medicare and Medicaid.

Extra Help — This program helps pay for Part D (Prescription Drugs) expenses. If you qualify for Medicaid or for certain Medicare Savings Programs, you’ll automatically qualify for Medicare Extra Help.

FAQ: What if my income exceeds the limits for Medicaid or a Medicare Savings Program, but I still can’t afford my coverage?

Having an income that exceeds the limits doesn’t necessarily disqualify you from Medicaid or any of the Medicare Savings Program. Because some of these programs take assets into consideration, recurring medical expenses and other resource strains could effectively bring a higher income down within the range of these programs, allowing you to qualify for them.

Talk with an Expert About Medicare and Turning 65

If you or someone you know is turning 65 this year, it is important to know that there are plenty of affordable options when it comes to Medicare plans. easyMedicare.com is an independent digital insurance agency that gives you a convenient and informed way to enroll in Medicare insurance from the comfort of your own home or business.

Our licensed insurance agents can search a variety of plans available in your geographic area to help you find the plan that is right for you. Our agents are available Mon - Thurs 8am - 11pm EST and Friday 8am - 9pm EST to help you compare your Medicare options and enroll in the plan you think is right for you.

Call 1-800-991-4407 / TTY 711 today for your no-cost consultation!