Now that the annual open enrollment period for 2017 Medicare coverage has begun, it’s important to know the A,B,Cs and Ds of Medicare. We hosted an online chat on Tuesday October 18 about “Understanding the Basics of Medicare Coverage” with Chuck Chaput of MedicareCompareUSA and Gita Vatave, General Manager Emory Healthcare Network Advantage to address the basics of Medicare coverage.
We received a lot of great questions from everyone that we were able to answer during the chat. All of the questions and answers can be find in the chat transcript here. We also had a couple of additional questions that we did not have time to answer during the live chat. Below are answers to those questions.
Question: How do I know which Medicare plan is best for me?
Chuck Chaput: That is the best question of all. There is no one plan that is right for everyone. Some people chose a Medicare Advantage plan and some people chose a Medicare Supplement. Here is how I review and compare plans with clients. I suggest clients make a list of medications (with daily dosage) and a list of important physicians/facilities; make sure all are included. Then, think about what is most important to you: value, price or comprehensive benefits? Next, what is your travel lifestyle and does the plan meet your travels needs; do you spend significant time each year at a second residence or do you travel a lot? When all of an individual’s preferences, needs and access (doctor and hospital) are met, usually a plan rises to the top.
Question: If I am covered by an employee plan, that would cover Part B and Medicare which I will be required to get at 65 covers Part A. Is everyone required to have Medicare Part D?
Chuck Chaput: No, having a Medicare Prescription plan (Part D), is not a requirement. However, each beneficiary is subject to a Late Enrollment Penalty if they later enroll in a plan. It is a 1% premium penalty (based on national average; $34.10 in 2016) added to your plan’s monthly premium, and calculated by determining how many months you could have been enrolled in a Part D plan but chose not to. It can add up, and I have seen Medicare beneficiaries who have no medications still purchase the lowest priced Medicare Prescription plan in order to avoid the late enrollment penalty down the road.
Thank you to all of those who participated. The full chat transcript can be found here.
For more information on these important Medicare enrollment dates or to compare the Medicare plans accepted by Emory Healthcare, please call the Emory Medicare Insurance Helpline serviced by MedicareCompareUSA at (855) 256-1501. You can also learn more by visiting www.emoryhealthcare.org/medicare.