If you are a US citizen who is 65 or older, have a disability, or suffer from a renal ailment at its end stages, you automatically qualify for the most popular federal health insurance – Medicare. However, there are various types of Medicare plans and covers, often categorised under parts A, B, C, and D. The first two are the most common ones, which is where most people fall.
While Part A provides coverage for inpatient/hospital bills, part B is referred to as medical coverage and covers outpatient medical costs. Part C, on the other hand, offers individuals with an alternative option to receive their Medicare benefits. Lastly, Part D basically offers coverage for prescription drugs.
Depending on the category you qualify for, you may or may not pay a premium for federal health insurance. Since different Medicare plans offer different benefits, you may need to switch from one plan to another depending on your specific health and medical needs. To make the seemingly confusing process easier for you, here are some pointers you can use to change your Medicare plan.
Consider Medigap coverage
Medicare’s purpose is to ensure that everyone can afford healthcare. People’s needs, on the other hand, tend to change throughout time. There is a period when you are not covered if you decide to change your Medicare plans. Anything could happen at that moment, necessitating the addition of Medigap coverage.
The Medigap coverage or medical supplements plan provides coverage for a single element of a Medicare plan for a set period, which is great for you if you are transitioning from one plan to another. In a post titled the Best Medicare Supplement Plans: Reviews of the Top 3, the folks at Medicare Wire make it easier for individuals in the transitioning stage. People with chronic ailments tend to benefit the most from supplemental Medicare plans because they won’t be caught off-guard by the coverage gaps.
Before making the change, it is thus advisable to double-check if you have Medicare coverage. It’s advisable to make the switch during the recommended time frame to avoid losing your whole coverage.
Choose the best time to make the change
It’s simple to transfer Medicare plans if you know when it’s the right time to do so. So, if you’re thinking about switching, you should know when it’s the ideal moment to do so. Understanding this could help you avoid losing coverage or leaving holes in your coverage plan, so here are the best times to do so.
- Initial enrolment period. Depending on the plan you choose, you will need different credentials. When you meet the requirements for a particular Medicare plan, you are given a window of opportunity known as the initial enrolment period. This time usually lasts between five and seven months. One of the finest times to switch Medicare coverage is now.
- Special enrolment periods. Certain life events provide you with an edge when it comes to changing your Medicare plan. They can include things like relocating to a new place, changing your coverage options, or going through life-changing circumstances. You have a special enrolment period at this point, which you should use.
- Open enrolment periods
Medicare normally offers a window where new subscriptions can be added, and plan changes may be made. This is what is commonly referred to as the open enrolment period. Any changes made during this time will be implemented the following year.
Add a prescription drug plan (Part D)
As earlier mentioned Medicare health insurance has four main parts. Part A covers inpatient hospitalisation, part B covers outpatient hospitalisation, part C covers special Medicare benefits, and Part D covers prescription medication coverage. When making changes to your Medicare plan, you may want to pay special attention to part D. You must add a prescription drug plan to the drug prescription section. This is only true if your plan covers it. Of course, the prescription must be legitimate and from a reputable health care professional.
Change your Medicare plan
Now that you’ve double-checked everything, it’s time to make the ultimate step and switch Medicare plans. This should only be done after you’ve done some research on the alternative options available to you and determined the one that best suits your needs.
Don’t hurry into a decision that could jeopardize your current coverage for something that isn’t worth the change. Consider consulting with a professional to ensure you’re making the best choice. In addition to this, the above few pointers can help when making changes to your Medicare coverage.
Robert Haynes did his degree in psychology at the University of Edinburgh. He has a particular interest in mental health and well-being.