So, you are extremely close to turning 65 (congratulations!) and retirement is right around the corner. Or maybe you have become disabled and can’t work anymore. This is a big turning point in anyone’s life. During this time, one of the most common struggles people face is trying to get the right health care coverage.  Fortunately, there is a program that is stress-free to sign up for, and effective for treatments. This program is Medicare.

What is Medicare?

Medicare is the standard health care plan in the United States for people who are 65 and over. You can also use Medicare if you are under 65, but have a qualifying disability. Medicare utilizes several different plans that you can combine to get the coverage you need on medical needs. Needs that are covered can include surgeries, hospitalizations, prescriptions, and many others.

Getting Started with a Medicare Plan

Like many things, signing up for the right coverage plan can be confusing for people who are new to the Medicare system. If you have questions or concerns, we highly recommend talking to a professional representative. These professionals are extremely helpful and can guide you in choosing the coverages that will benefit you the most. They are also available to you at no cost. If you need help, follow this link to talk to a representative from your state.

To begin signing up for your Medicare plan, here is a breakdown of the steps, as well as some useful information to help you choose what you need. 

Step 1: Choosing Original Medicare or Medicare Advantage

This first step will help you set up your hospital and medical insurance (Part A and Part B). If you choose Original, then you set up your insurance plan with Medicare itself. With the original plan, you have a large selection of doctors, hospitals, and other care providers that are Medicare approved to choose from.

With Medicare Advantage (Part C), both Parts A and B are provided. The difference is how you set up your insurance plan. With Medicare Advantage, you will be covered by private insurance companies that are Medicare approved. These companies will vary by state, but some common ones include Kaiser Permanente and Humana.

Step 2: Choosing Drug and Supplemental Coverages

Getting on a prescription drug coverage plan is extremely important. If you go to a doctor with a problem, chances are you will get a prescription of some kind. There are several different paths to getting drug coverage depending on which plan you choose.

If you are on Original Medicare, then you will need to get prescription drug coverage (Part D) separately. This will usually result in separate premiums and deductibles from your regular insurance payments for Parts A and B. If you are on Medicare Advantage, then things are slightly easier. Many of the regular Medicare Advantage plans include Drug Coverage as part of the package.

With drug coverage, there is a caveat that could be advantageous to you. Several organizations have prescription plans as well that could cover what you need. This could be from your employer, a union, or the Veterans Administration (VA).

Step 3: Apply for Plans and Benefits

Now it’s time to break out the computer or paperwork and get started setting up Medicare. The simplest way to apply for Medicare is to go to the Social Security Administration website. On the website, you will fill out the necessary forms to see if you qualify for Medicare plans. If you’re not tech savvy don’t worry. You can also fill out regular forms and mail them into to your local Medicare office.

The application process and determining which benefits to use is where the help a professional will be greatly beneficial. All of the Medicare plan premiums and deductibles for Plans A through D are based on factors like your income, social security benefits, etc. Professional representatives can help you choose the best plan options for you based on your income to get the care you need at a price that works for you.

Professional representatives can also help you research if you have any other health or medical insurance aid from other programs. For example, if you have a drug copay plan with the VA, then you may not need to sign up for Plan D, or maybe only sign up for a small plan that fills in where the VA does not.

Financial Tips and Conclusions

When you are signing up for Medicare, (or any medical insurance) it is always good to have a plan. While many healthcare providers do accept Medicare, there are some who do not. It is important to know which health care providers will be covered by your Medicare plan.

Another factor to consider is the cost of the premiums and deductibles. Even the most basic Medicare plan can be costly for some households, and costs will go up when you add programs such as Part D.

Having a professional Medicare Advisor can be invaluable at this point. With so many plans available it is a good idea to know all of your options. If you are the type of person that likes to do your own research, you can get all the information you need on the website.

Fortunately, there are several programs that can assist with Medicare expenses. One of the most popular aid programs is Medicaid. Medicaid is a joint federal and state program that provides financial assistance for paying for Medicare. Medicaid can also even help cover the costs of other health programs such as nursing homes and personal care services. Another program that helps with personal care service costs is PACE. PACE stands for

As you get older, having good medical coverage becomes more important. Medicare can be a great asset for making sure you stay healthy, and that you have the medical care you need when a situation occurs. Whether you just need some additional help with your hospital expenses or a comprehensive plan to cover your prescriptions and medical procedures, you can set up the Medicare plan that works for you.