LETTER |  What You Need To Know About Medicare |  The latest from WDEL News

No matter how old you are, experts say it’s never too early to start planning your retirement. When it comes to retirement, too, there are several things to consider, including for your health, so that you can enjoy the years to come. A large part of this is health insurance coverage that helps you stay healthy and provides security in the event of illness or injury.

One health insurance option for older Americans is Medicare, the state health insurance program for retirees. Most people can enroll by the age of 65, and people under 65 who have certain disabilities and diseases such as end-stage kidney failure can also qualify for Medicare.



Nick Moriello, Market President of Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield of Delaware



For many of us, the “pieces” that make up Medicare can be confusing. Here’s a rough breakdown: Part A includes hospitalizations, post-hospital care, hospice care, and some home nursing. Part B covers things like doctor visits, outpatient hospital services, emergency services, mental health services, certain therapies, diagnostic services, and preventive services. These two parts are often referred to as the “Original Medicare”. Part C is more commonly referred to as Medicare Advantage and Part D is about prescriptions.

Part C, or Medicare Advantage plans, are offered by private health insurers such as Highmark, and they typically offer benefits that support the overall health of members, such as hearing aids, dentistry, and chiropractic care. Benefits You Cannot Get with Original Medicare.

Medicare Advantage plans also include additional services, such as assistance with treating a chronic condition such as diabetes or heart disease, and other wellness-related benefits. As health or budget requirements change, Medicare Advantage members also have the flexibility to change their plan once a year during the annual membership period, which runs from October 15 to December 7. Medicare Advantage coverage also protects members from unforeseen costs such as hospital stays, surgery, or expensive prescription drugs.

In addition, the monthly premiums on a Medicare Advantage plan are typically low, and the premiums for each plan are the same for everyone, regardless of age or medical history. They also have financial protection built in as the plans’ annual spending limit helps keep costs under control. Many insurers even offer insurance coverage with monthly premiums of $ 0. However, individuals who regularly see a doctor or take regular medication should consider a Medicare Advantage plan with a low monthly premium that offers more coverage and can save money in the long run. You also want to make sure that your Medicare Advantage plan includes a network of reputable providers who are experienced in providing quality care for older adults and have strong community ties.

The point is that there are many options when it comes to Medicare Advantage plans, which means there are options for almost every need.

Even if Medicare Advantage is not right for you, Medigap or Medicare Supplement offer another option and, in combination with Medicare Parts A and B, can help reduce expenses.

Just like planning and saving for retirement should start at an early age, the more you know about Medicare, the better prepared the more you know about Medicare, the better prepared you or a loved one – such as a parent or grandparent – is eligible to enroll in Medicare . To learn more, visit medicare.gov.