If you are approaching Medicare eligibility in 2023, it’s important to consider your healthcare options. Medicare is a federal health insurance program that covers individuals 65 years and older or those with certain disabilities or chronic conditions.
However, many people are unaware of the benefits and options available to them under this program. Here are a few reasons why you should learn about Medicare 2023.
Understanding your coverage options
There are several different Medicare plans available, including Original Medicare (Part A and Part B), Medicare Advantage (Part C), and Medicare Supplement (Medigap) plans. Each plan has different coverage options and costs, so it’s important to understand which plan best fits your healthcare needs and budget.
For instance, Original Medicare only covers 80% of approved medical expenses, meaning you may have to pay the remaining 20% out-of-pocket. Fortunately, a Medigap plan can help, but what exactly is Medigap? A Medigap plan will cover some or all of your 20% to ensure you don’t pay too much out-of-pocket.
Learning about your different coverage options can help you make an informed decision about your healthcare and potentially save you money in the long run.
Changes to Medicare policies and coverage
Each year, Medicare makes updates and changes to its policies and coverage. It’s essential to stay informed about these changes to make informed decisions about your healthcare.
For example, the Part B premium either increases or decreases each year. This year the standard Part B premium fell from $170.10 in 2022 to $164.90 in 2023. On top of that, all Part D vaccinations are covered at 100% beginning in 2023.
Additionally, Medicare has introduced new changes to some enrollment periods, such as the General Enrollment Period (GEP). In the past, when someone used the GEP from January 1st to March 31st to sign up for Medicare, their coverage would not start until July 1st. Beginning in 2023, people who use the GEP will see their Medicare coverage start the 1st of the month after they apply, meaning they no longer have to wait as long for their benefits to begin.
So, staying up to date with these changes can help you take advantage of the benefits and services available.
Enrolling in Medicare can be complex, and missing enrollment deadlines can result in permanent financial penalties and higher costs.
Let’s take your Initial Enrollment Period (IEP), for instance. Your IEP is a seven-month enrollment window that starts three months before your 65th birthday and ends three months after your 65th birthday. If you miss this deadline and do not have other creditable coverage, you may face higher Part B and Part D premiums for the rest of the time you are enrolled in the Medicare program.
Another significant enrollment period is the Annual Election Period (AEP), which is the time to change your Advantage plan or Part D plan. You may need to wait another year to make changes if you miss it.
As you can see, these enrollment deadlines, among others, can help you avoid penalties and make the most of your healthcare coverage.
Learning about Medicare can also help you find cost-saving opportunities, like the Extra Help program for those with limited income and resources. This program assists with prescription drug costs.
Additionally, some Medicare Advantage plans offer benefits such as vision, dental, and hearing coverage not covered under Original Medicare. By exploring these options, you can save on healthcare costs and improve your overall health coverage quality.
Another opportunity to think about is rate shopping for Medigap plan premium increases. Each Medigap plan experiences some sort of premium increase each year. If the cost of your Medigap plan goes up, you can shop around to see if more cost-effective choices are available.
Peace of mind
Finally, learning about Medicare can give you peace of mind knowing that you have healthcare coverage that meets your needs. Medicare is designed to provide access to healthcare for those who need it, and understanding your coverage options can help you make informed decisions about your health insurance.
Knowing you have the coverage you need can help alleviate stress and anxiety related to healthcare costs and access to care. As the saying goes, knowledge is power. This is the same when it comes to making healthcare decisions.
Learning about Medicare is essential for anyone approaching Medicare eligibility or currently enrolled in the program.
By staying informed about changes to policies and coverage, understanding your coverage options, meeting enrollment deadlines, finding cost-saving opportunities, and gaining peace of mind, you can ensure you have the healthcare coverage you need in 2023 and beyond. So, take the time to educate yourself about Medicare so you can make informed decisions about your healthcare.
About the Author:
Emily Reynolds is a healthcare advocate and writer with a strong focus on Medicare education. With a passion for empowering individuals to make informed healthcare decisions, she believes that understanding Medicare is crucial for everyone, regardless of age or current healthcare needs. Through her writing, she aims to simplify complex concepts and provide practical guidance for individuals navigating the Medicare system. When she’s not immersed in healthcare topics, Emily enjoys practicing yoga and volunteering at local community health fairs.