In my previous articles, I explained how Medicare Parts A and B pay for seniors’ hospital and medical care. Medicare offers generous coverage, but you must pay for a share of the costs as well. If you develop a condition that requires a lot of treatment, you can potentially be left with bills that total thousands of dollars over the course of the year. As an actuary, I have personally seen policies that have paid out hundreds of thousands of dollars in a single year to cover a senior’s medical expenses. So what can you do to protect yourself from these potentially large costs? That is where Medicare Supplement comes in.
In this second article on Medicare and your costs, I will explain Medicare – Part B (Supplementary Medical Insurance) and Part C (Medicare Advantage). As before, I need to start with a disclaimer that I am a private individual not affiliated with the federal Medicare program. While I worked hard to ensure the accuracy of my information, it has not been reviewed by Medicare. If there are any disagreements with official Medicare materials, those materials should be relied upon. I hope that you find the information useful.
Are you or a relative close to retirement age and beginning to think about Medicare? You have a lot of company. An estimated 10,000 baby boomers turn 65 each day and become eligible for Medicare. However, many people are in the dark about how it all works. Do you know, for example, that if you do not enroll in Medicare within a specific window of time, you will be subject to significant penalties? Do you understand what medical expenses Medicare pays for and when you might receive a large bill? Do you know what can be done to protect against these expenses?
In this series of articles, I hope to help simplify your understanding of the Medicare program, your costs, and the insurance options that are available to protect you. Medicare is a huge program with countless details and many exceptions to rules. I can’t cover everything in a short series of articles, and I certainly don’t claim to know everything. My goal is for people to come away with a clearer picture of how the program works, so they can plan appropriately and know when to ask questions.
Most seniors are enrolled in Traditional Medicare (also known as Original Medicare). Since my background is with the Traditional Medicare program and associated insurance products, this will be the focus of the articles, but they will also touch on Medicare Advantage and Prescription Drug coverage.