Updated: Jan 4
Now here is a “fun” topic. The time period that you can choose a Medicare plan or change to a different Medicare plan is October 15th through December 7th. (Who picked December 7th? A day of infamy!!!)
For those of us just getting into this (call us “youngsters” as opposed to those who are experts, we’ll call them “oldsters”) this is a whole new world (and no, I’m not thinking of a Disney song right now).
Medicare loves to confuse us with acronyms. So, they call this the AEP (which stands for Annual Coordinated Election Period…I guess the “C” is so silent they dropped it). This is about a “window in time” that takes place every fall, during which Medicare plan enrollees can reevaluate their existing Medicare coverage. There are two basic options. 1-Original Medicare with optional supplemental drug coverage (called Parts A-B-D) or 2-Medicare Advantage (created back in the late 1990s, which allows private Medical Insurance Companies to provide all Medicare related services).
Currently about 46% of all Medicare recipients take advantage of the Medicare Advantage program. (Maybe that’s why they named it “Advantage?”)
What stands out about Medicare Advantage is that, on top of the normal Medicare coverage items, most of these plans include drug coverage, which Medicare normally charges extra for to use their Part D (drug coverage).
Something else to know about Medicare, the Part B (The Medical Insurance part) and Part D (The Drug part) have variable premium charges. It’s based upon your income. If your married income is less than $91,000 a year, your monthly premium is about $170. If your income is higher, the monthly premium goes up…all the way to anybody making over $750,000 a year paying about $656 a month. That’s Socialism folks! (How did that old communist slogan go? “From each according to his ability to each according to his needs.” Karl Marx.) I dunno, but it would seem fairer to say, everybody pays the same price, like for almost everything else you buy. The rich and the poor pay the same price for gas, eggs, milk, normal medical insurance, etc.
Most Medicare Advantage plans cost $0 a month. (You still must pay the socialism-styled Medicare premiums no matter what.)
Medicare Advantage plans usually include drugs, eye-care, dental care, hearing care, gym membership, etc. They do usually have maximum coverage amounts and maximum out of pocket amounts that are usually a little higher than the Medicare option.
I have found that calling an independent agency to help walk you through the myriad of choices in plan options, etc. is the way to go. I used MedicareEnrollment.com. (You can call them at 855-644-2121.) There are many other independent agencies out there that you can contact as well.
Have you heard? Job 10:12 says, “You have granted me life and steadfast love, and your care has preserved my spirit.”
Kelly Bullis is a Certified Public Accountant in Carson City. Contact him at 882-4459. On the web at BullisAndCo.com Also on Facebook.