The 3 Most Important Medicare Questions to Ask Before You Enroll

Knowing the right Medicare questions to ask can help you feel more informed and confident when it comes time to sign up for Medicare. Here, our advisors answer three of the most important ones!

1. What Kinds of Coverage Will I Need?

It’s important to know your current and potential health care needs, especially when shopping for a Medicare plan. In the world of Medicare, coverage can be broken down into these basic categories:

  • Hospital services and inpatient care
  • Doctor’s visits and outpatient care
  • Prescription drugs
  • Vision, hearing, and dental services

Check off which of these services your Medicare plan will need to cover. For example, if you receive prescription drug benefits through your retirement package, you may not need a Medicare plan with pharmacy coverage.

With hundreds of plan options available, our advisors can help you customize your coverage to your needs. If your situation changes after you enroll, you can switch or update your coverage during Annual Enrollment.

2. What Is My Budget for Health Care Coverage & Services?

Once you figure out the kind of coverage you need, you will need to calculate exactly how much you can afford to spend on your plan—either on a monthly or an annual basis. Different parts of Medicare come with different costs.

Medicare Part A (hospital insurance) is typically premium-free, as long as you or your spouse have paid Social Security taxes for at least 10 years. However, you are responsible for a $1,556 annual deductible and additional coinsurance if you’re hospitalized for longer than 60 days.

Part B (doctor’s insurance) starts at $170.10 a month, plus a $233 annual deductible and 20 percent coinsurance for covered services.

However, these are just costs associated with Original Medicare (Parts A and B). If you enroll in a Medicare Supplement, Medicare Advantage, or Prescription Drug plan, you will pay different costs based on the plan you choose. Our advisors can help you compare a range of options that work for your coverage needs and budget.

Further, you will need to plan for the cost of any covered medical services you receive. Ask about coinsurance amounts, out-of-pocket maximums, and deductibles when shopping for a plan.

3. How Do I Sign up for Medicare?

There is more than one answer to this question—some routes to sign up for Medicare are simpler than others. Some people are automatically enrolled in Medicare when they sign up for Social Security, depending on when they start drawing benefits.

If you are uncertain, the simplest way to sign up for Medicare is to reach out to a trusted advisor in your community. At no cost to you, our advisors will help you enroll in Medicare benefits, find the right plan, and take the necessary next steps to get coverage when you need it.

View more detailed steps from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) here.

Bonus: What Are My Spouse’s Options for Health Coverage?

Your spouse is not automatically eligible for Medicare just because you are. Depending on their age, they can find an individual health insurance plan to bridge the gap until they are eligible to sign up for Medicare.

More Medicare Questions to Ask?

You can get no-cost answers from a local expert. Our advisors are here to give you advice and guidance on your next steps, whether you are ready to sign up for Medicare or looking into your options for the first time. Reach out to us by scheduling a call or emailing [email protected].

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