Today, there’s a life hack for everything, so why not in the sphere of health insurance, too? For those who aren’t familiar with it, Medicare is the federal government-run health insurance program that most Americans over the age of 65 prescribe to. While the basic benefits offered to everyone enrolling for the program are the same, there are certain distinctions to how many benefits you receive or premium costs based on a few factors that need to be taken into consideration.
So here are five steps you can take to make sure that9 you extract everything you can from your Medicare policy,and protect your future in terms of any healthcare issues that might crop up.
Take advantage of Medicare with these 5 tips:
- Act fast
The first piece of advice to make the most of your Medicare policy is to get the timing right. The initial period for enrollment is from 3 months before your 65th birthday to 3 months after. If you don’t enroll during this period, you have to pay penalties, with premium costs increasing over an annual time period (usually 12 months) after the enrollment period’s expiration. If you have health coverage from your employer and you haven’t retired yet by the time you turn 65, then this enrollment period is extended to within eight months of leaving your job or your previous coverage ending.
- Choose wisely
There are two broad options to choose from when picking a Medicare policy, original and advantage. Original offers Medicare part A and B, and is government subsidized. Additional coverage can be purchased through Medigap. Advantage plans, also known as part C,are offered through private insurance firms, so premiums and benefits can be wide-ranging. Legally, these policies must at the very least cover everything under parts A and B(additional coverage may vary). Pick your plan based onyour needs and your means to make sure you have the best possible coverage at the most competitive rates.
- Free checkups and screenings
New enrollers of Medicare are given a free doctor’s appointment in the part B package within the first 12 months of signing on, so use this appointment to your advantage. Also, annual Medicare approved preventive screenings for mammograms, colonoscopies, diabetes and bone density, among others, are completely free of cost. An annual wellness visit to the doctor’s is also free of cost in order to ensure that you keep tabs on your health and stay as fit as possible.
- Medication coverage
Certain medications are covered by Medicare, others aren’t. Researching your medication options and using the most economical prescription drugs is a good idea. Make sure you don’t fall in the prescription drug gap category of the part D Medicare coverage by renewing your medication coverage in a timely manner to avoid late penalties.
- Use health technology
Medicare also has provisions for the use of medical health technology to help you receive phone or e-mail consultations from your physician. It is always advisable to have an open line of communication with your physician, so take advantage of these opportunities to keep them updated about your health or consult on any problems you may be facing, no matter how minor. Problems that can be assuaged through the use of this technology allow you to save on travelling to the doctor or hospital and the costs associated with it.