By Amy De Vore+ | Monday June 13, 2013
Now that our parents are seniors it’s important that we know about Medicare and its benefits. There is a lot of information that can seem confusing at first -at least that’s how I saw it. So what I did was compile a list of the important things our parents need and I realized it was actually pretty simple. There are basically three things everyone (including us!) must take care of when turning 65:
1) Medicare Part A and Part B,
3) Prescription Drug Coverage
I have decided to dedicate an article to each item above. This article will talk about Medicare Part A and B and the importance of having both.
Medicare Part A: What is it?
Part A is basically hospitalization coverage. This covers surgery, hospital stays, the in-case-of-emergency stuff.
Part A Covers:Some Hospital care
Some Skilled nursing facility care
Some Nursing home care (as long as custodial care isn’t the only care you need)
Some Home health services
See how I’ve written “some” for each item? I will explain this below.
Medicare Part A: How do you sign up for it?
Many people will automatically be enrolled in Medicare Part A as soon as their Social Security Benefits kick in at 65. However, there are some people who will need to sign up and I have compiled the list of those that need to do so:
Parents Who Need to Sign up for Medicare Part A:They are over 65 but aren’t getting Social Security yet because they are still working.
They qualify for Medicare early because they have End-Stage Renal Disease (ESRD).
They live in Puerto Rico
If they fall under any of the categories above or they aren’t sure they are signed up for part A, visit The Medicare Overview Page at Senior65 to get started. Remember that there is no cost for Medicare Part A if your parent qualifies.
Medicare Part B: What is it?
Part B is non-hospital medical insurance. You know, doctor’s visits, the day to day things our parents need.
Part B Covers:Some Ambulance services
Some Mental health -inpatient and outpatient
Some Durable medical equipment
Some Clinical research
*Once again with the “somes.” I promise I’ll get to that below.
Medicare Part B: When to Enroll Your Parents
Unlike Part A, NO ONE IS AUTOMATICALLY SIGNED UP FOR PART B. There is an additional fee of about $100 a month for this coverage but it is totally worth it. There is a 7 month window to enroll without penalties in Medicare. This period begins three full months prior to the birth month when turning 65, the month of their 65th birthday, and the three months that follow. The sooner your parent applies the sooner get coverage. For example, if your parent signs up in the first 3 months they are eligible, their Medicare coverage will begin the 1st day of their birth month
Do not have your parent delay on this because the penalties for signing up late may last a few years. Costing your parents quite a bit more for their monthly premium.
Medicare Part A and B is Only Basic Coverage
What I mean by “basic” is Medicare Parts A &B still leave uncovered gaps for major medical expenses such as extended hospital stays, foreign travel medical emergencies, and prescription coverage. This is why I have put the word some in front of each benefit above. Medicare parts A and B is a good start (a way better than nothing) but it will not protect your parents if they have major medical issues. Also Medicare Part A and B DO NOT COVER MOST PRESCRIPTION DRUGS
If you want to fill in the gaps of your parents health insurance you would want to consider a Medigap policy. Which is convenient because that is my next article! If you cannot wait for it then visit Senior 65 to learn about Medigap.
Also if you want to make sure that they have prescription coverage you would want to add Medicare Part D. That’s going to be my third article so hold tight and let me finish it before hitting me up with lots of questions :) To learn more read the 2nd and 3rd installments: All about Medigap and Your Parents and Medicare Part D and Your Parents
Follow the installments of this 3-part article to learn more on how to help your parents achieve medical financial security. Also, check out the article, Does Medigap Cover Dental? If you need to talk to an agent about specific questions regarding your parents and Medicare you call Medicoverage at 800-930-7956.
Like what you've read? We pack some of our best insider know-how and savviest strategies into our free weekly emails.
Subscribe today and let us help you live a healthy, happy financial life.