There is an interesting time that very few people talk about in terms of retirement. People discuss what age they should draw social security, what age they should retire, when to cash out on their 401k. What you don't hear as much emphases on is getting onto Medicare. When someone turns 64, they usually don't know anything about Medicare. All they know is that they have been paying into it throughout their life and that it is something they will have to deal within a year when they turn 65 years old. That's about it. What starts to get their attention is when they begin to become bombarded with mailers, phone calls from solicitors, television commercials, and even strangers knocking on their doors, all wanting to talk to them about Medicare. Vultures!
Once this person starts to look into it for themselves with a simple Google search, chances are, they end up more confused then they were before. They stumble upon things like Medicare Parts A, B, C, D, etc. What does this all mean? Why do they make it so confusing!? My simple answer to this, is it's the government! It's what they do best, is it not?
I am going to take 80% of the confusion out of the equation right here and right now. The only two parts of Medicare that come from the government are Medicare Parts A & B. A covers the hospital, skilled nursing facilities, and hospice care. Part B covers doctors fees, out patient care, durable medical equipment, among other things. In short, A & B cover medical bills. Meaning they do not cover things like prescriptions, dental, vision, or hearing. Medicare only covers 80% of medical bills, leaving 20% behind for the consumer to pick up.
There are really only two ways a person on Medicare can go when they are going about enrolling. They can go with a traditional Medicare Supplement plan (A.K.A Medigap) to pay the 20% of medical bills that Medicare does not pay for and pair that with a Part-D drug plan to cover medications. The other alternative is they can go with what's known as a Medicare Advantage plan (also known as Part-C), which works in some ways, as a private insurance company stepping in and your Medicare is ran through that company. These are all the ads you see for the $0 premium plans on television as well as the ads for "free" dental, vision, and hearing coverage. These plans are federally funded so they typically come with very low premiums, if any at all, and they typically increase your medical coverage, provide you with drug coverage, and can come with dental, vision, and hearing coverage (although some plans have more than others).
Both sides have their ups and downs, but everything you ever have heard about Medicare, or ever will hear, falls into one of those two categories. Focus on understanding these two options and the good and bad to them, and it will simplify your process tremendously!
Founder & President of Christian Brindle Insurance Services. Host of "The Everything Medicare Podcast!". Author of the books "The Insurance Funnel" & "Medicare Guidance: Picking the Plan for You.".