The ABC & D’s of the Medicare Maze

When: You know you are close to turning 65- because you will start getting a lot of mail.
Basically: 3-months before your 65th birthday- apply for your Medicare A & B card (if that’s your route)

Then: As soon as you get that Red, White, & Blue Medicare card- talk to a professional about your Medicare options. There are many agents. I would encourage finding an Independent Agent licensed with many companies.

What: Once you get Medicare, there are 2-options.
Option 1: Medicare Supplements (10 Federally Stand-alone Plans, A-L)
They have been working… well, since Medicare (1965, over 50 years).
They have premiums; no networks, no referrals, no deductibles, and very few co-pays- if any.

Option 2: Medicare Advantage Plans (Part C)
Some Dr. Offices call these, “Replacement Plans”, because they get paid by the Insurance Company directly; not Medicare. These plans must be as good or Better than original Medicare. These are All Networks; HMO, PPO, etc
They all have co-pays, maybe a deductible on prescriptions; Most are $0.00 premium!
Yes, that is correct- many cost $0.00!!!
Nevertheless, it is a real challenge to figure out which one is best for you. You may even find couples each have different plans because of different needs or wants. A smart place to start is getting a comparison between keeping your employer coverage and getting Medicare options.

How: Medicare A & B is with the Federal Government ( or 1-800-Medicare.
If neither of these options seems best for you, stop by your local office to apply!

Medicare Parts C or D, are NOT applied for at the Medicare office. They are provided by Medicare Approved Insurance companies. These companies, and there are many, have many options to chose from. Again, I recommend speaking with an Independent Agent. (There should be a 10 Question Review Process to help determine which option(s) are best for you- Then, start looking at particular plans)

Who: Work with an agent who understands BOTH SUPPLEMENT and ADVANTAGE plans (PartC)!
Both have many options, benefits, and hang ups. SO, getting a Complete Big Picture- is Very Valuable.
Note: If you are interested in the Advantage plans- call your Doctor’s Office and find out Exactly which plan they take. Also, know that there are plans that can provide Extra Help if you have COPD, Diabetes, Cardivascular Disease.
There are also plans to help with Low-Income situations as well.

James H Willis, III- Financial Planner -Insurances
James H Willis, III- Financial Planner -Insurances

I am an Independent Agent and know your options well (since 1988).