5 things to know about medicare

Become a member

Anytime you transition from your employer’s health insurance to Medicare, there are some things to consider — especially as you near or pass the age of 65. Here are five things to note about Medicare to help you get the most from your benefits.

You have been paying for it all along
If you work, you pay into Medicare. That includes those who are self-employed. You and your employer each pay 1.45% of worker wages into Medicare. If you made or make more than $200,000 ($250,000 household) per year, you may have paid an additional 0.9%. 

Medicare becomes your primary insurance after age 65
Even if you have another form of health insurance, either through an employer, your spouse’s employer, or something you buy, Medicare is considered your primary insurance after you turn 65. Medicare covers many preventative services without any added costs, including well-doctor visits.

There are 4 Parts to Medicare
When you start to look into Medicare, you’ll come across the terms Part A, Part B, Part C, and Part D. It’s important to understand each one that affects you. Some parts are covered under Medicare and others require additional payments to outside providers.

Medicare Part A: provided at no additional cost covers most necessary hospital, skilled nursing, home health, and hospice care.

Medicare Part B: requires an additional monthly premium to cover most doctor visits, preventive care, durable medical equipment, lab tests, x-rays, mental health care, some home health, some ambulance services, and hospital outpatient services.

Medicare Part C: often called Medicare Advantage, is offered through private insurance plans that covers things like dental, vision, hearing, wellness, and more.

Medicare Part D: is an optional add-on that covers prescriptions. This is not provided by the federal government.

Family enrollment is not possible
Because Medicare if an individual benefit, you cannot enroll as a family.

You are not always enrolled automatically
When you are on Social Security for any reason, you could be automatically enrolled in Medicare. This can be important to note if you are utilizing COBRA for your health insurance. However, as you near 65, it’s vital to enroll within a 7-month window before or after you turn 65. This will help you avoid penalties and gaps in your coverage.

Enroll in Medicare Part A and B online or over the phone
Visit SocialSecurity.gov or call Social Security at 800.772.1213. If you have a nearby Social Security office, you can visit them in person as well.