Tom Meaglia, ChFC®

Chartered Financial Consultant


Investment Advisor Representative

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Meaglia Financial Consulting

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November/December 2019

Understanding Medicare

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If you’re nearing age 65, one rite of passage will include making your way through the health insurance maze known as Medicare. Here are some basics you’ll need to know.

Sign-up Periods
If you are getting benefits from Social Security or the Railroad Retirement Board, you’ll automatically get Medicare Part A and Part B starting the first day of the month you turn 65. Otherwise, you can sign up for Medicare from three months before the month you turn 65 to three months after the month you hit that age.

If you are at least age 65 and you have insurance through your employer or your spouse’s, you generally don’t have to sign up until you lose that insurance. You can opt to sign up for Medicare anytime you have union or employer health coverage or during a special eight-month enrollment period beginning the month after employer or union group health plan coverage ends or when employment ends, whichever comes first.

If you don’t sign up for Part A or Part B when first eligible and you don’t qualify for a special enrollment period, you may have to wait until the Medicare general enrollment period, which is from January 1 through March 31. This coverage would then start July 1 of that year. In most cases, you’ll have to pay a permanent late enrollment penalty for as long as you have Part B.

Perusing the Parts
Medicare Part A is considered primarily hospital insurance and is free for most former workers who have paid into Social Security. For most people in 2019, Part B cost $135.50* per month. This includes coverage for doctor visits, lab work and other outpatient services. Part D is Medicare prescription drug coverage and has a separate cost.

Additionally, you will likely want to explore buying a Medigap policy, which pays for services not covered by Medicare such as eye exams and dental work, while paying for at least a portion of often-high Medicare deductibles and coinsurance.

Alternatively, you can combine your coverage through Medicare Advantage, an HMO offered by private insurance companies. Work with a qualified health insurance professional to learn more.



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