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8 Quick Tips to make Medicare Straightforward

1. There are 3 ways to get Medicare coverage: You can choose Original Medicare (Parts A & B). Or you join a Medicare Advantage Plan which usually includes your prescription drug plan (Part C=Part A + Part B + Part D). Or you can join a Medicare Supplement Plan and add a stand-alone Prescription drug plan.

2. You will pay a share of your costs. Neither original Medicare, Medicare Advantage nor Medicare Supplements will pay for everything. You may have to pay monthly premiums as well as out-of-pocket cost such as deductibles, copays and coinsurance.

3. Protection from high out-of-pocket costs is available. Medicare Advantage plans put a cap on your out-of-pocket costs. Depending on the plan that could be $2,900 to $10,000 each benefit year. Medicare Supplement plans help pay some out-of-pocket costs not paid for by original Medicare, like deductibles & coinsurance.

4. There are 2 ways to get drug coverage. You may and a stand-alone prescription drug plan (Part D) to original Medicare or a Medicare Supplement. Or you may enroll in Medicare Advantage plan (MAPD) that include the drug plan.

5. You may have many options. Medicare Advantage plans and prescription drug plans vary in terms of coverage and cost. We offer several plans where you live in Illinois or Missouri. Meidcare Supplement plans are standardized and the same nationwide. Costs do vary in Illinois & Missouri.

6. Timing matters when you first enroll. Your Initial Enrollment Period (IEP) is your first chance to enroll in Medicare and choose the coverage you want, Your IEP is 7 months long. It includes your birthday month or the 25th month of getting disability benefits plus 3 months before or 3 months earlier.

7. It is wise to review your options each year. Annual Enrollment happens each year October 15-December 7th. You may change your coverage choices during this period with an effective date of January 1st of the new year.

8. You may enroll or make changes at other times of the year. January 1st-Macrh 31st is Open Enrollment Period (OEP). You can modify your Medicare Advantage plan or prescription drug plan. Medicare provides Special Enrollment Periods for qualifying life events. Leaving employer health plans, moving your primary residence, certain chronic conditions, and qualifying for medicaid are just a few. Please contact us for more information.

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