Medicare: What you need to know for 2021

Medicare: What you need to know for 2021

Medicare: What you need to know for 2021, When you’re nearing your 65th birthday, or already on Medicare, Medicare spots flood your email, voicemail, text message, and old-fashioned mailbox. As you probably know, registration is open until December 7. If you have any questions, you are not alone.

Senior Planet found two independent Medicare experts and searched for information on Medicare to find out what’s new, what’s worth it, and where to get more help.

First stop, Medicare.gov

If you’re not already enrolled, check out Medicare’s 5 important facts.

  • Some people get Medicare automatically, but not everyone. You may need to apply if you are almost 65 but are not yet covered by social security.
  • Note the application deadline (explained when you start the process).
  • Know when to register for Part B.
  • Know you have choices.
  • Know that you may qualify for help with the costs.

Experts weigh in

“People don’t realize that Medicare doesn’t pay for everything,” says Diane Daniels, a Florida-based Medicare counselor and author of the Medicare Survival Guide. “It has deductibles and copays.” She advises people to prepare for these costs.

Once on Medicare, some stick with their existing plan for years, what Daniels calls the “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” mentality. Not good, she says. Compare plans every year. Tailor your plan to your medical history and needs.

A quick way to stay informed is to look at the annual notification of changes sent during open enrollment.

Those with a retirement plan shouldn’t assume it’s superior to a Medicare plan, says Jae Oh, MBA, a financial planner in Ann Arbor, MI., and author of Maximizing Your Medicare. Not always true, he says.

Plan ahead. Oh advises people near Medicare age to look into plans two years before the first person in the household is eligible.

Changes worth noting

Two changes to Medicare plans for 2020-2021 are worth noting, experts say:

  • Lower out-of-pocket costs for insulin. If you join a Medicare drug plan that participates in the “Part D Senior Savings Model,” the plan offers several types of insulin for a maximum copayment of $35 for a 30-day supply, which is a significant saving. Check the details carefully, says Oh. “There are many different types of insulin, and not all are treated equally in all plans.”
  • If you have the end-stage renal disease (ESRD), you have unlimited access to Medicare Advantage plans.

More help, thanks

Go to the Medicare website to shop and compare. Get help, including counseling and assistance, through state health insurance assistance programs; find your state information here. Or see an independent Medicare consultant who can help you compare plans.

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