It is Medicare enrollment time once again! From now until December 7th you can review your parents’ policies and make sure they have the right plan for their needs. If their medical complications have increased or decreased they may need to see if their is a plan that better fits their conditions, medicines and finances. Each year costs, benefits, supplements can change in each state. Before assisting them you may want to know some basics about Medicare. The government insurance program for people over the age of 65 is very complex and uses slang that may be quite confusing, especially for older adults. As adult children you may be better equipped to understand what mom and dad really need and what plans are offered.
Medicare part A-D refer to different coverage under Medicare. Medicare part A is “hospital insurance” that covers care when there is an acute issue and they have to go to the hospital. Nursing, therapy and hospice care needed after a hospital stay may also be covered for a short term.
Medicare part B is “medical insurance” which covers services and supplies that are medically necessary to treat a medical condition. Outpatient care and preventative services can be covered under this part also.
Medicare part C represents Advantage Plans, these are plans offered by Private Insurance agencies that cover the same services as Part A and B.In addition, these plans may offer other benefits and cover prescription drug plans (Part D). Go here to learn more about Advantage Plans: http://www.medicare.gov/sign-up-change-plans/medicare-health-plans/medicare-advantage-plans/how-medicare-advantage-plans-work.html
Medicare Part D refers to the subsidized prescription drug premiums for Medicare beneficiaries. These plans are good to review yearly to ensure the medicines that are being taken are covered in their plan.
While the task of helping your parents get their Medicare info together can be daunting, there is help out there that can make life a little easier. Using a trained SHIIP counselor (see your local Shepherds Center), you will get an unbiased person to help navigate the different plans. Independent agents can also explain different plans they may be able to offer.
We hope your family feels confident they are covered correctly in 2015. We are here to be a resource to you adult children who are caring for mom and dad. Please give us a call if you have questions on how we could assist you further at 336-993-1600.