If you are turning 65 are you automatically enrolled in Medicare? When do I sign up for a Medigap policy? Do I need Medicare Part D? Which is better, Medicare supplement or Medicare Advantage? Should I buy the same coverage my friends have? What is the difference in Medicare Part A and Part B? If I am covered under an employers group health plan do I need Medicare? Guaranteed savings!
Turning 65 in Georgia
We are often asked, "Am I automatically enrolled in Medicare when I turn 65?". The answer for most is yes. About 3 months before turning 65 you should get a package from Medicare with your enrollment information, your Medicare and You handbook, Choosing a Medigap Policy, your Medicare ID card and more.
Of course you can also expect a ton of Medicare information from insurance carriers, calls from agents and more junk mail than you can imagine.
You can and probably should toss most of the stuff from carriers. If you are like most of us, the more you read the more confused you will become. Below is a partial list of things you will need if you want something other than plain, original Medicare. Make a turning 65 file folder and label it My Medicare Information
- Apply for Medicare Part A and (maybe) Part B
- COBRA and Medicare do not mix. Pick one or the other. Be aware of problems from enrolling in Medicare following COBRA
- In your folder include a COPY of your Medicare card
- Put your ORIGINAL Medicare card in a safe place where you won't lose it
- Place Medicare and You, and Choosing a Medigap Policy in your folder
- Create an account at MyMedicare.gov
- Verify information such as your PRIMARY INSURANCE provider on MyMedicare
- Make a list of your regular doctors including name, address and phone
- Make a list of your regular medications including the EXACT name and dosage of each drug
- Use MyMedicare to store and update provider, Rx and insurance information
- Estimate your total medical expenses for the prior year. Include doctor, hospital and drug costs
At some point in your search for knowledge and understanding you will need each of the above items. Might as well get them together now so you don't have to search later.
Which is better, Medicare supplement or Medicare Advantage?
Great question and a common one for those who are turning 65. The simple answer is, it depends.
That was helpful . . .
In general, if you are in good health, rarely go to the doctor and take very few prescription drugs, a Medicare Advantage plan might work for you. Advantage plans might be better if you don't have a regular doctor and are willing to pick a doctor from a list that is given to you. If you are not planning on any surgery, such as joint replacement or cataract surgery, a Medicare Advantage plan could be the right choice.
But if you have chronic conditions that require frequent doctor visits, hospitalizations or expensive outpatient treatment you should consider original Medicare and a Medicare supplement plan.
You should also review Medigap plans if you have planned surgery such as mentioned above.
When do I sign up for a Medigap policy?
The best time to buy a Medigap plan is when you are turning 65. You can apply for a supplement plan up to 6 months in advance of your 65th birthday but it is probably better to wait until 60 – 75 days before your Medicare benefits begin.
If you go online to review plans and rates keep in mind that most Medigap sites do not offer you an instant quote. Almost all will ask for your contact information so an agent can call you and set up an appointment to come to your house. Other sites sell your information to agencies in another state where you will be inundated with calls day and night by some fast talking, high pressure sales person.
Most people turning 65 would prefer to do their own shopping and information gathering before making a decision. We fully support your decision to take your time and evaluate your options which is why our private site (GA Medigap Quotes) is a good place to start.
At GA Medigap Quotes your information is never sold. You will be able to view plans and rates from several top rated Medicare supplement carriers. You can view plans side by side and make comparisons between the popular Medigap plan F and more value driving coverage like plan G or plan N.
When you provide a valid email address you will receive a short series of automated emails designed to inform you about your options and things you need to know when picking a Medicare plan in Georgia. Shortly after your visit you will receive an email from Bob Vineyard that contains the lowest rates for our most popular plan. These rates do not appear online anywhere and are only available to select brokers in Georgia.
I will also call to gather a bit more information about the kind of plans you are looking for, what your specific needs are and more importantly, your budget. When you pay more you don't get more, you simply paid too much and there is never a reason to do that.
Should I buy the same coverage my friends have?
For most people turning 65 this is the first time they have purchased health insurance and they probably didn't understand what was sold to them. If they bought an Advantage plan it was probably a $0 premium policy and they were never counseled on how expensive those plans really are. The agent that sold that plan earns a commission, and rightly so, but it is roughly 2x the amount they would be paid by signing you up for a Medigap plan.
No conflict of interest there, right?
But if your friends are suggesting a Medicare supplement plan I bet they told you plan F was the best. They probably bought their plan from Blue Cross of Georgia, Mutual of Omaha or AARP (United Health Care).
Don't get me wrong. Medicare supplement plan F is a great plan and the carriers listed above are all fine if you don't mind paying too much.
There are much better values in looking at something other than plan F. All Medigap plans are standardized and assigned a letter from A to N. All plan F's are identical in every way EXCEPT the price. Paying more for the Blue Cross or Mutual of Omaha name doesn't get you a better plan. It just means you paid more than you needed to.
Two areas where newly minted (as well as seasoned) Medicare beneficiaries go awry are in picking a Medicare supplement plan that delivers VALUE, and in managing their prescription drug costs.
When you shop for Medigap plans you probably only see a few of the more than 170 plans available to Georgia seniors. Online shopping, including at GA Medigap Quotes, will reveal about 40 plans from a handful of carriers.
A 10 minute no obligation phone consult will help us determine your exact needs and wants. There is no need to trouble yourself with trying to digest all the information about plans, carrier longevity, renewal action and so forth. We can distill the 170 plans down to a more manageable 3 – 5 and let you pick the one that matches your needs and budget.
Turning 65 can be challenging enough without trying to learn the language of Medicare.
Medicare Part D, the prescription drug portion, is perhaps the most challenging process in turning 65. There is no standardization. Plans range in price from $15 to over $100 per month.
You may think a low priced drug plan is best but that is not necessarily the case.
Just as you can go wrong picking the lowest priced Medigap plan, choosing a drug plan based solely on the premium can often be a bad decision.
Similarly, the higher priced plans may also cost you money over the course of the year.
We show our Medigap clients how to MANAGE their total drug dollars, often saving them $500 a year or more. That's on top of $500+ savings by picking the right Medigap plan.
Be sure to check out our Prescription Drug Savings page for helpful, money saving tips.
There is no charge for our advice, but if you buy through anyone else you will almost certainly pay more than is needed.
Turning 65 doesn't have to be hard, or expensive.
Medicare Part A, Part B and Part D
Medicare Part A provides you with an inpatient hospital benefit while Part B is for doctor and outpatient services. Medicare part D covers your prescription drug costs. You can learn more about these benefits elsewhere on my site by using the menu tabs.
If I am covered under an employers group health plan do I need Medicare?
There is no simple answer to this. If you are turning 65 and will continue to be covered under an employer group health plan you may not need Part B or Part D. Contact us for more details.
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