How to Choose Medicare Benefits for a Family Member or Loved One
Tips to help you plan for choosing a parent's Medicare benefits as a caregiver
Reviewed by: Brett Braithwaite, Licensed Insurance Agent.
If your parents need assistance, adults can name a personal representative of their choosing, which would make that person their health care power of attorney and their personal representative.
The most common time to change your parent’s Medicare plan is during the Annual Enrollment PeriodThe Annual Enrollment Period (AEP) is when you can enroll, change or drop a plan. The AEP is from October 15 to December 7 every year. Changes made during AEP take effect January 1 of the following year. (also known as the Open Enrollment Period), which is from October 15 to December 7 each year.
If your parent is an eligible veteran, they may qualify for additional V.A. benefits and coverage.
Before you help choose a parent’s Medicare plan, it’s important to know the basics.
The Parts of Medicare & What They Cover
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Medicare Part A (Hospital Insurance)
Medicare Part B (Medical Insurance)
Costs NOT covered by Medicare (Part A & Part B)
Medicare Advantage (Part C)
Part D (Prescription Coverage)
For eligible veterans, V.A. benefits can be a way to cover any unpaid expenses not covered by Medicare. These services include:
- Physical exams and other preventative care
- Dental services
- Long-term in-home care
- Long-term nursing home residential care
Medicaid covers low-income individuals and families, pregnant women, people with disabilities, and people receiving Supplemental Security Income (SSI). States are required to include coverage for:
- Inpatient and outpatient hospital services
- Physician services
- Lab and X-ray services
- Home health services
Can I change my parent’s plan?
For purposes of Medicare, you need legal authorization anytime you’re acting on behalf of a beneficiary. For example, you can’t enroll another person in Medicare, even your spouse, unless you have the power of attorney, health care proxy, or other authorization to make such decisions for the beneficiary. Adults can name a personal representative of their choosing, which would make that person their health care power of attorney and their personal representative.
Can my parents change their Medicare plans at any time?
It is possible to change a Medicare plan. The best time to make the switch is during the Annual Election Period (also known as Open Enrollment Period), which is open from October 15 to December 7 every year. Once you make the necessary changes, the new coverage will begin the following year on January
Can you be eligible for both Medicare and Medicaid?
Some people may qualify for “dual eligibility,” meaning they are qualified for Medicare and Medicaid. Under both insurances, most of your healthcare costs will likely be covered.