Medicare Tips from GoHealth Licensed Insurance Agents
Written by: Bryan Strickland
Reviewed by: Selah Lee, Licensed Insurance Agent
Always double-check your Part D plan to ensure your medications are covered.
A licensed insurance agent can help you prepare for enrolling in Medicare and Medigap .
You can use existing HSA funds to pay for services, but you no longer are able to contribute to your HSA when enrolled in Medicare.
A Medicare Supplement plan (Medigap) can help you cover costs from gaps in coverage.
Every single day, GoHealth’s licensed insurance agents answer thousands of questions about Medicare. Today, they’re going to answer some of the most important questions before you even ask them.
Whether you’re just beginning to learn about Medicare or you’ve been researching for a while, these tips from the pros will help you feel like a pro.
Find a local Medicare plan that fits your needs
#1 Do You Know When to Start Preparing for Your Medicare Enrollment Period?
Medicare might not be right for you at age 65, but you need to determine that before turning 65 and need to know the potential pitfalls associated with waiting.
Not everyone will decide to sign up for Medicare Part A and Part B when they first become eligible, but everyone needs to have a game plan before becoming eligible.
#2 Do You Know That Medicare Covers Several Preventive Services at no Cost to You?
So much Medicare discussion revolves around how much it’s going to cost, and understandably so. But to maximize the value associated with the cost, be sure to take advantage of no cost services.
Part A (commonly called “hospital insurance”) doesn’t carry a monthly premium for most people, and Part B (“medical insurance”) doesn’t carry a premium on many Medicare Advantage plans.
All new enrollees receive a no-cost preventive “Welcome to Medicare” screening.
Are you eligible for cost-saving Medicare subsidies?
#3 Did You Know That Part D Plans Are not all the Same in Your Area?
Another way to save money? Make sure you pick the right drug coverage.
Part D is a standalone prescription plan that you can add to Original Medicare or that usually is offered as a part of a Medicare Advantage plan.
Not all Part D plans are created equal. Each plan has its own set of premiums, deductibles, copayments, and coinsurance.
Bonus tip: If a need arises for a prescription that isn’t on your formulary, you can request an exception.
#4 Do You Know Which Plans can Help You With Costs Like Coinsurance, Copays, and Others?
Original Medicare covers most of your costs, but not all. In some cases, these gaps in coverage can be substantial. A Medicare Supplement plan (Medigap) can help you cover deductibles and 20% of your outpatient coverage, so you don’t have to pay out of pocket.
What extra benefits and savings do you qualify for?
#5 Do You Know how Medicare Works if You Have More Than one Home?
Are you a snowbird? Do you fly south for the winter for months at a time?
Original Medicare covers any visit to any doctor that accepts Medicare.
Medicare Advantage comes with a specific network of providers. Some Medicare advantage plans address location and offer network solutions for your home and away networks.
Whatever Medicare plan you have, coverage out of the country is limited.
#6 Do You Know That Medicare Changes how You can Use Your HSA Account?
High Deductible Health Plans (HDHPs) allow participants to contribute to a Health Savings Account (HSA) pre-tax to pay medical expenses.
You can’t continue to contribute to your HSA account once you’re on Medicare, but you can use the funds already in your HSA account to pay for medical expenses. That’s pretty straightforward, but here’s something not as clear-cut to keep in mind:
- If you delay enrolling in Medicare Part A at age 65 because you’re in an employer-sponsored HDHP, you should plan to stop contributing to your HSA at least six months before you plan to enroll in Medicare.
Why? Because Part A of Medicare offers up to six months of retroactive coverage, so you need to have gone at least six months without contributing to your HSA to eliminate the possibility of a tax penalty. [i]
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#7 Have You Compared Original Medicare and Medicare Advantage?
If you’re like most people and decide to enroll at age 65 in Original Medicare (also known as Part A and Part B) during your Initial Enrollment Period (IEP), that opens the door for you to enroll in Part C — also known as Medicare Advantage — during your IEP.
If you think Medicare Advantage is the right fit for you but aren’t sure, your IEP is a great time to give it a try.
Why? Because it presents you with a unique opportunity to take Medicare Advantage for a test drive. The first time you sign up for Medicare Advantage (even if it’s years after you enroll in Original Medicare), you have a “trial right” to return to Original Medicare within 12 months. [i]
That right also allows you to return to add a Medigap policy without answering any medical questions if you’re new to Medicare, or return to your previous Medigap policy if you had one with Original Medicare. Medigap policies aren’t necessary with Medicare Advantage plans, which include similar supplemental coverage.
#8 Do You Know who to Contact if You Have Questions About Your Medicare Coverage?
You have so much to consider when it comes time for you to make Medicare decisions, but you don’t have to go it alone. GoHealth provides countless online resources (like this checklist) that can get you started, but a licensed insurance agent can be crucial to getting you to the finish line. There are a lot of details, and a licensed insurance agent can you help make sense of how all the pieces of a plan come together.
Get the health benefits and savings you’re entitled to.