If you are a caregiver for someone who has Medicare, understanding this program and their healthcare options could make your life a lot easier. We’re here to help.
What is Medicare? An Overview for Caregivers
Medicare is a federal health insurance program for people 65 and older or younger than 65 with Social Security Disability. It is managed by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS).
Types of Medicare Coverage
Original Medicare: consists of Part A (hospital coverage) and Part B (medical coverage). Part A is usually premium-free and Part B always has a premium. Most people pay 20% on covered Part B services once they’ve met their deductible.
Medicare Advantage (Part C): plans offered by private insurance companies that are contracted with CMS. These plans include Part A and B coverage as well as usually offering vision, dental, and hearing benefits. Some Medicare Advantage plans called MAPDs also offer prescription drug coverage. MA premiums start at $0. There are a few different types of Medicare Advantage plans, including HMO, PPO and PFFS. You can find a comparison of HMO vs. PPO, the two most common plan types on our site as well.
Medicare Supplement (Medigap): private plans that help cover the out-of-pocket deductible, copay and coinsurance costs that come with Original Medicare. These plans require medical underwriting if you do not enroll during your 6 month Medicare Supplement Open Enrollment Period, and not all applicants who go through underwriting will be accepted.
Initial Enrollment Period (IEP): The Initial Enrollment Period begins 3 months before the beneficiary’s birthday month when they are turning 65. It includes the birthday month and continues for 3 months after, for 7 months total. During this time, beneficiaries can enroll in Medicare Parts A and B, a Medicare Advantage Plan, a Medicare Supplement plan, or a Part D plan. Beneficiaries can be charged late fees if they do not have Part B coverage or prescription drug coverage after their IEP, don’t have creditable coverage and decide to sign up later.
Annual Enrollment Period (AEP): This period occurs every year from October 15 – December 7. During this time, beneficiaries can change their Medicare coverage for the following year by enrolling in a Medicare Advantage Plan, swapping MA plans, or dropping Medicare Advantage and enrolling in a Part D plan. Coverage is effective January 1.
Open Enrollment Period (OEP): From January 1 – March 31 each year, Medicare Advantage beneficiaries may change their Medicare Advantage plan only once, either to enroll in another Medicare Advantage Plan or to return to Original Medicare with the option to enroll in a stand-alone Part D Prescription Drug Plan.
Special Enrollment Periods (SEP): Throughout the year, a beneficiary can be eligible for a Special Enrollment Period if they meet the SEP criteria. Common special circumstances include moving to a new state, leaving employer coverage, moving in or out of an institution, or having Medicaid (low-income subsidy).
General Enrollment Period (GEP): If a beneficiary does not enroll in Medicare Part B during their Initial Enrollment Period, they can do so during the General Enrollment Period from January 1 – March 31. Coverage is effective the first of the next month.
Caregiver Through Medicare: Medicare Benefits That Support Caregivers
Original Medicare (Parts A and B) offers specific and limited Medicare caregiver coverage. The benefits offered with Medicare Advantage Plans can change each year, sometimes in big ways. In the past few years, Medicare Advantage plans have been able to add new benefits, many of them for increased home care support. Some of those benefits include caregiver support, in-home health services, meal delivery, adult day center membership, transportation, home safety modifications, and more.
Reviewing Medicare Caregiver Options
A licensed insurance agent can help your Medicare beneficiary review the Medicare plans in their area. During that consultation, the agent can help find specific benefits, compare costs, ensure that doctors are in network, and check prescription drug coverage. You may be able to participate in the consultation or enrollment if your beneficiary gives permission or if you hold Power of Attorney.
Because plans change each year, the Medicare plan your beneficiary has been enrolled in may not still be the right plan for their needs and situation.
Medicare Made Easy: 6 Part Series
Annual Enrollment Period (AEP)
Medicare Annual Enrollment Period runs each year from October 15 to December 7. What is the Annual Enrollment Period vs. Open Enrollment Period?
Initial Enrollment Period (IEP)
Your Initial Enrollment Period generally surrounds your 65th birthday but may occur if you otherwise become eligible for Medicare for the first time.
Speak to a Licensed Insurance Agent Today
1-800-991-4407 / TTY 711
Mon-Thu 8am-11pm, Fri 8am-9pm, Sat 10am-6pm ET
Aetna® Anthem® Cigna Healthcare® Humana® UnitedHealthcare®
e-TeleQuote Insurance Inc. (“e-TeleQuote”), an affiliate of Primerica, Inc., does business as easyMed Insurance Services in all states other than New Mexico. e-TeleQuote is a duly licensed insurance agency appointed by Medicare Advantage HMO, PPO and PFFS plans and stand-alone prescription drug plans and insurance companies holding Medicare contracts approved by The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). e-TeleQuote is not connected with or endorsed by the U.S. Government or the Federal Medicare Program. Enrollment in any plan for coverage is subject to insurance company approval. Enrollment in the plan depends on the plan’s contract renewal with Medicare. By using e-TeleQuote’s easyMedicare website, you understand and agree that in New Mexico, we operate as e-TeleQuote Insurance, Inc. (Your IP address and/or location coordinates may be gathered to verify your location.) Sales agents may be compensated based on your enrollment in a health plan. Medicare Supplement plans are not connected with or endorsed by the U.S. Government or the Federal Medicare program. e-TeleQuote complies with applicable Federal civil rights laws and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, disability, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, or religion. easyMedicare.com is a non-government site, powered by e-TeleQuote Insurance, Inc. e-TeleQuote provides a secure way to purchase Medicare insurance from the comfort of your home or workplace. We do not offer every plan available in your area. Currently we represent 5 organizations which offer 3,291 products in your area. Any information we provide is limited to those plans we do offer in your area. Please contact Medicare.gov or 1-800-Medicare (TTY users should call 1-877-486-2048) 24 hours day/7 days a week, or your local State Health Insurance Program (SHIP), to get information on all of your options. Not all plans offer all of these benefits. Benefits may vary by carrier and location. Limitations and exclusions may apply. To send a complaint to Medicare, call 1-800-MEDICARE (TTY users should call 1- 877-486-2048), 24 hours a day/7 days a week). If your complaint involves a broker or agent, be sure to include the name of the person when filing your grievance.