Healthy Life Style with Medicare Health Insurance

Planning a Healthy Life with Medicare Health insurance at age 65

Planning a Healthy Life with Medicare Health insurance at age 65

Turning 65 means you’ve safely connected a major milestone in life. For many people, 65 years also means becoming eligible for medicare, the federal health insurance program. Understanding the basics of medicare health plan and how to enroll can support you in making choices to keep you healthy after retirement.

 When You First Become Eligible to Enroll in Medicare

Most people first become eligible for medicare the month they turn 65. Others may become eligible earlier if they have permanent disabilities or end-stage renal disease. 

The initial enrollment period for medicare spans 7 months. This includes the 3 months before you turn 65, the month you turn 65, and the 3 months after. During this time, you can sign up for medicare part A hospital insurance and medicare part B medical insurance. 

If you currently have health insurance based on current employment, you may not need to enroll in medicare at 65. Talk with your benefits administrator to understand how your retiree health coverage works with medicare.

People 65 and older who don’t enroll in medicare part B when first eligible may pay a late enrollment penalty if they join later. It pays to learn about medicare enrollment periods and qualifying life events for special enrollment. 

Medicare Health Insurance Parts A, B, C, and D

There are different parts and plans that make up the Medicare program. Understanding the basics can position you to choose the right medicare plan to meet your needs.

Original medicare includes part A and part B. Part A helps cover inpatient hospital stays, skilled nursing services, hospice care and some home health services. Most people don’t pay a premium for part A because they paid medicare taxes while working.

Part B covers doctors visits, preventive care, durable medical equipment and other outpatient services. Most people pay a monthly premium for part B. For 2023, the standard premium is $164.90 per month. Higher income beneficiaries pay more.

Part C, or medicare Advantage, offers plans by private insurers that bundle parts A and B coverage. Many include prescription drugs and other benefits Original Medicare doesn’t cover. You may pay lower out of pocket costs with Part C.

Part D adds prescription drug coverage. It helps pay for medications doctors prescribe for treatment. Monthly premiums vary by plan. Higher income enrollees pay more for their part D coverage.

Choosing the Right Medicare Plan at age 65

Choosing the right medicare plan provides the health coverage you need at a cost you can afford. Here are steps to take to select your plan:

– Review your health needs. Do you require frequent doctor visits, therapies, hospital care or home health services? Make a list of the providers and medications critical to managing your health.

– Check which services each plan covers. Original Medicare covers most services but leaves gaps. Advantage plans and supplements help cover more. 

– Compare out-of-pocket costs such as copays and deductibles. Plans with lower costs may charge higher premiums. Weigh total expected costs.

– Ensure your preferred doctors, hospitals and pharmacies are in network. Using out of network providers costs more.

– Consider extra benefits like dental, vision and hearing coverage. Some Advantage plans offer these.

– Seek help from your State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP). They offer free medicare counseling.

After weighing these factors, enroll in the plan that best fits your needs and budget. You can switch plans each year during open enrollment from October 15 to December 7.

Using Medicare Health insurance options to Stay Healthy

Once enrolled in medicare, take advantage of the many preventive services available to help you stay healthy. Part B covers:

– Annual wellness visit to develop a personalized prevention plan
– Screenings for cancer, diabetes, cholesterol, depression and more
– Vaccinations for flu, pneumonia and hepatitis B 
– Tobacco cessation counseling for smokers looking to quit

Catching health issues early helps avoid costly medical interventions down the road. 

You also get discounts on gym memberships, nicotine replacement therapy, diabetes supplies and screenings through medicare-approved programs. Look for these benefits when evaluating medicare Advantage plans.

Living a healthy, active lifestyle helps you get the most out of your medicare coverage. With a little planning, you can enroll in the right medicare plan to support your health needs now and in the future.