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The Plain English Attorney

Medicare is great insurance, it just has a few holes and gaps.

By Mike Brooks with The Care Assistance Center


Turning 65 this year? Congratulations and welcome to what I call the Mountain of Medicare!

If you are within six months of your 65th birthday you’re probably starting to receive a newsstand of information from different insurance companies marketing health plans and supplements.  A small shredder should suffice in negating this overload of information, or if you have a fireplace you’ll be warm for the winter.

To keep things simple: Medicare has Part A for hospital insurance and Part B for doctor and medical insurance.  You are entitled to Part A for free if you have been paying into the system for 10 years or 40 quarters. Part B comes with a premium and varies based on income. Most people new to Medicare will pay $134 per month or $402 per quarter in 2017.

Medicare supplements are important for protecting your health, income, and bank accounts from limitless medical bills that can accrue if Medicare is your primary insurance.  Medicare supplements were standardized because of specific federal and state laws designed and enacted to protect you.  This means insurance companies must sell “standardized” plans identified in most states by letters (such as A, B, C, D…).  The only difference is the rate you pay and the company that you choose to insure you.

Medicare Advantage plans are newer health plans that have come into the market a little over a decade ago.  These plans act as replacements to your Medicare Part A & B benefits and may include value-added services and combine the Part D drug coverage into one plan.   Value-added services on many plans include dental, hearing, vision, and gym memberships.  These plans are not supplements and are still laced with holes and gaps that original Medicare leaves on the table and can result in higher out-of-pocket costs than expected if not properly chosen.

Medicare may seem complicated – with the prescription drug plans (known as Part D) as the most confusing supplement. But with the right planning and a knowledgeable, independent insurance agent, it can be simple to navigate.   Having an independent agent help with your planning will allow you to pick the company and plan that works best for your individual situation and does not limit yourself to one option.  Medicare plans and related costs change almost routinely.

The Care Assistance Center at the Living Trust Law Firm is happy to offer a free consultation on the best insurance companies and plans available in your area to meet your Medicare and Drug coverage needs. Call us today at (919) 518-8237.


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