As many seniors near the age of 65, they realize they need to know more about how Medicare works, eligibility requirements, how to enroll, what plan to choose, and so on. With the myriad of information to absorb, seniors often find Medicare confusing and turn to their children for help. If you've been handed the responsibility of helping your parents prepare for Medicare, here's how to get started.
Step 1: Understand the basics of Medicare
You can't help with what you don't know, so you need to understand Medicare basics. You don't have to be an expert; that's the job of Medicare insurance agents. A general understanding of Medicare is enough to help your parents choose the right coverage.
You can begin by knowing the Medicare parts, which include Original Medicare (Medicare Part A and Part B). Part A is known as hospital insurance and covers treatment received in the hospital, while Part B covers outpatient treatment.
However, Original Medicare covers only 80% of the medical expenses after you meet the deductible and leaves you to pay the remaining 20%, along with other out-of-payment costs.
The following will provide a better understanding of Medicare.
Step 2: Talk with your parents and understand their needs
The next step is to have a talk with your parents. Having a clearer understanding of their needs will help them choose the right plan. Here are some points to cover during the conversation: Do your parents have a long-term relationship with a doctor they trust with their care? Is it important they stick with this doctor? Will they need coverage for transportation to doctor's appointments?
What monthly premium can your parents afford? Will they be able to afford a high deductible in an emergency? Will they keep visiting a doctor if it requires copays?
What type of coverage do your parents need based on their current health conditions? Are they likely to require more comprehensive coverage in the future?
If your parents need further help with Medicare, you can ask them to fill out an authorization form that enables you to speak with Medicare agents on their behalf.
Step 3: Select a plan
After you and your parents understand their needs, it's time to begin shopping for a plan. Before selecting a coverage plan, it's a good idea to compare the available options so your parents can choose a plan that suits their health and financial needs. While you can compare the plans on your own, many seniors prefer to work with us as we help them compare the coverage of different plans, their carriers, and premiums for free.
After selecting a plan, you can submit an application to the insurance company. Most insurance carriers will require your coverage start date, Medicare ID number, current health plan name and provider, social security number, street address, and banking information for premium payment.
Step 4: Plan ahead
Once your parents are enrolled in Medicare, your work isn't done. You need to make sure they continue to access the right coverage year after year. You can do that by signing up for premium autopay to ensure payment isn't late.
Also, you can help review their coverage and make changes to them if needed during the annual election period. Lastly, keep yourself up to date with Medicare changes and updates.
Step 5: Get Help
If you still can't handle it alone, get help. Our independent insurance agents are on standby to assist you through the entire process and help your parents choose the right plan for their needs. Schedule an appointment to get started.