5 Important Things Older Adults Should Know About Medicare

By Matt Rogers, 9:00 am on

As a leading provider of elderly home care, Pembroke Pines Home Care Assistance believes older adults should have as much knowledge as possible about resources that can help them remain healthy. One of the most important changes that occurs in the senior years is eligibility for Medicare. People nearing age 65 and their families should pay close attention to the following 5 details regarding this type of coverage.

1. Timing Is Important

The Medicare enrollment process is very involved and lengthy. Ideally, your loved one should start researching options as soon as he or she turns 64. The actual enrollment period begins 3 months before your loved one turns 65 and lasts for 4 months after he or she turns 65. 

2. There Are Penalties for Not Enrolling on Time

Aging adults who miss their initial enrollment period can still sign up during the general enrollment period, which is January through March. In this case, coverage becomes effective in July. However, the delay can come with a penalty ranging from 10 percent for every year your loved one delays enrollment to 1 percent per month. 

3. Medicare Becomes Primary Insurer After Age 65

Once your loved one turns 65, any other insurance he or she has becomes secondary to Medicare, including COBRA, individual, or retiree insurance. This is important because the other insurance may not cover your loved one’s medical expenses after he or she turns 65 even if he or she has not already applied for Medicare.

4. Coverage Consists of Four Parts

Medicare Part A covers hospital, home health, skilled nursing, and hospice care. Medicare Part B includes doctor visits, preventative care, diagnostic tests, and other outpatient services. Medicare Part C is offered by private insurance companies that have contracts with the government to provide Medicare services. These plans are often referred to as Medicare advantage plans. Medicare Part D refers to prescription drug coverage offered by private insurance companies.

5. Automatic Enrollment May Occur

If your loved one chooses to draw Social Security at age 62, he or she might be automatically enrolled in Medicare Parts A and B at age 65. This also applies to individuals who receive Railroad Retirement Benefits. It is important for your loved one to double-check that he or she is actually enrolled well ahead of the initial enrollment period to ensure he or she does not miss out on benefits or incur a penalty.

Though medical care is crucial for seniors, there are other methods of care that can help them remain healthy as well. For instance, an in-home caregiver from Home Care Assistance can provide specialized Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, or dementia home care. Pembroke Pines seniors count on our caregivers to provide medication reminders and transportation to medical appointments, assistance with meal prep and exercise, and help with a wide array of other important tasks. For more information on our in-home care services, call (954) 374-8273 to speak with a knowledgeable Care Manager.

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