If your aging loved one is nearing the age of 65, he or she will soon be eligible for Medicare benefits, and there are steps he or she needs to take and vital information he or she needs to remember. Naples, FL, senior care professionals share 5 of the top things your loved one needs to know about Medicare.
1. Choosing the Right Plan Is Crucial
Choosing between original Medicare or a Medicare Advantage plan depends on your loved one’s unique circumstances, but there are a few things he or she should keep in mind.
- Original Medicare allows for seeing any doctor who accepts Medicare, but a Medicare Advantage plan requires choosing a doctor enrolled with a specific plan
- There will normally be fewer out-of-pocket medical expenses with a Medicare Advantage plan
- Some Medicare Advantage plans also offer vision and hearing benefits
- Original Medicare offers a choice of prescription drug program, but drug coverage is not included in all Medicare Advantage plans.
2. There Is No Family Enrollment Offered
Medicare benefits only apply to individuals, which means there are no joint or family plans. Even if your loved one’s spouse is already covered under Medicare, your loved one will still need to enroll for his or her own benefits.
3. Supplemental Coverage Is Available
Regardless of whether your loved one chooses original Medicare or a Medicare Advantage plan, he or she may still be faced with out-of-pocket medical expenses. A “Medigap” policy can help pay medical costs not covered by Medicare, including:
4. Procrastination Should Be Avoided
The ideal time for your loved one to start researching your Medicare options is when he or she turns 64. The initial enrollment period begins 3 months before your loved one turns 65 and lasts for 4 months after he or she turns 65. If your loved one misses the initial enrollment period, he or she can still enroll during the general enrollment period every January to March. However, he or she may have to pay a late enrollment penalty.
5. Keeping Meticulous Records Is Important
Your loved one should keep detailed records anytime he or she speaks with a government official regarding Medicare enrollment or benefits. This includes the date, time, the name and contact information of the individual he or she spoke to, as well as any other relevant information. If a government official gives your loved one erroneous information that results in missing the enrollment deadline, he or she may be able to avoid paying the penalty if he or she can prove the official provided misinformation.
Regular medical attention is important for older adults, but doctors are not the only people who can help seniors remain healthy. Consider hiring a trusted in-home caregiver from Home Care Assistance, a leading provider of Parkinson’s, stroke, and dementia home care. Naples families rely on our dedicated caregivers to provide transportation to medical appointments, offer timely medication reminders, and assist with daily tasks like bathing, grooming, and exercise. For more information and to schedule a no-obligation consultation, please call (239) 449-4701 today.