Before you apply for any Medicare plan, you need to know what the benefits are. Most people already know what the basic Medicare plan covers. That’s Medicare Part A and Part B, which take care of a lot of the most common expenses, so while we will cover that briefly here, we will focus on some of the other Medicare benefits for 2019 in plans that you could sign up for. It is important to know what your options are when it comes to medical insurance. That way, you can know which plan to buy and whether you need to change up your current coverage plan for something else.
Right of the bat, we want you to know that Medicare has not announced any changes to its plan and their coverage for 2019. The organizations usually announces changes that are upcoming at least six months in advance. As we get closer to 2019, it is possible that we will start to hear about some changes, but for now, you can simply study what is available for 2018 and get a good idea of what is coming in the year after as far as available medical coverage plans.
The Original Medicare plan, also known to many as basic Medicare, includes cover for Medicare Part A and Medicare Part B. That covers you for inpatient and outpatient medical services, taking care of many of the expenses you might encounter at the doctor’s office, the clinic or the hospital. It covers you for much of your hospice care, skill nursing care, in-hospital expenses, x-rays, checkups, preventative care, surgeries and more. If you aren’t sure about what is being covered and what isn’t, then you are entitled to know before you receive any medical care. You may refuse care, if you believe it is unnecessary and you cannot afford it.
This plan can only be reached at Medicare, and you can apply for it once you turn 65. That’s the rule for most of the plans we will be listing. They count 65 as the earliest possible age most people can apply for the plans, but there will exception made for people with certain medical conditions. Those who have end stage renal disease, along with anyone with a diagnosed disability, may be eligible to receive Medicare before they turn 65. If you think that your situation entitles you to early Medicare, then you can simply contact a Medicare insurance agent to find out.
So, we have covered Medicare parts A and B briefly. Now, let’s look at Part C. This is known as Medicare Advantage, and it actually includes all of Part A and Part B in it. You can buy this plan through private insurance companies, and it is not available through Medicare, though Medicare does provide oversight for it. That means that you a get Original Medicare outside of the Medicare organization, if you buy it as a Medicare Advantage plan.
This plan also includes cover for emergency medical care as well as for medical services that are considered to be urgently needed. This is the basic coverage on Medicare Advantage plans, but they can include more. They could also cover you for Medicare Part D, which we will get into in a moment. It essentially covers prescription drug costs. It can further include coverage for checkups not covered by the basic Medicare plan, as well as for eyeglasses, hearing aids another medical apparatus you may need.
Advantage plans are made to operate on a network, which limits where they can be used. Each insurance company that sells these plans has their own network, and if you sign up for an Advantage plan with them, but there is no network facility near you, then you may have trouble enjoying your full coverage with that plan.
Medicare Part D
For prescription drug coverage, you have Medicare Part D. This plan is sold by private insurance companies as well, and it does not have standardized or base coverage. It differs from one insurance company to the next, so you will want to compare a few Part D plans to see how they stack up and to ensure that they have the coverage you need at a decent price.
Every Part D plan comes with tiered coverage. That means that some drugs are covered all the way by this plan and others are only covered partially. You can find out which drugs are covered and to what extent they are covered if you take time to examine some of your Part D options. Medicare Part D will be among the most popular Medicare benefit 2019 plans, as the cover an essential expense that many seniors require. Even people who only have minor prescription drug costs that they pay out of pocket may be able to benefit from this kind of plan. They may want to consult with their doctor or insurance agent first, though, just to be sure that they are saving as much money as possible.
If you sign up for an Advantage plan that includes Part D in it, you cannot sign up for an additional Part D plan.
Supplemental insurance, or Medigap plans, are sold by private insurance companies as well. There are ten different ones, each with standardized coverage, ranging from high to low coverage plans. They are intended to fill in gaps of coverage created by Original Medicare. The Supplement plans require that you first have an Original Medicare plan in order to work, as they cannot function on their own. They will not be compatible with Medicare Advantage plans, but they work fine with Part D plans.
Medicare Supplements can cover all sorts of different medical expenses for you. They cover both common and uncommon expenses, and you can choose what you want covered by picking the appropriate plan. Let’s look at what exactly these plans will take care of for you.
They can cover you for blood you have used through the year. Your Original Medicare plan can cover much of that, but once its coverage runs out, the supplemental coverage will step in and cover you for three additional pints of blood every year.
You can also receive coverage for Medicare’s deductibles. These are expenses you pay annually if you have an Original Medicare plan. Some of the Supplement plans will only cover Part A’s deductible, while others will cover both Part A and Part B.
There are copayments required for both of those parts of Medicare as well. Supplement plans can cover those for you too. Part A’s copayment and Part B’s copayment are separate supplemental items, and many of the Supplement plans cover them both in their entirety.
Your Supplement plan can cover you for Medicare Part B’s excess charges too. You may not have to pay this expense often, if at all in your lifetime, but for those who do, this coverage can be quite useful. You would only have to pay for Part B excess charges if you go for treatment at a medical facility that will not full accept Medicare’s coverage, so not many of the Supplement plans provide this item of coverage.
Other coverage includes emergency medical transport for outside the US, skilled nursing care coinsurance and hospice care coinsurance. These are all expenses that Original Medicare leaves you to pay, and Supplement plans will take care of them for you.
Which Plan to Choose?
We can’t tell you what kind of coverage you need to sign up for. Only you can determine what your needs are and which of these plans, if any of them, fulfills those needs for you. You’ll have to spend some time looking not only at the plans and what they offer but also at your own situation. You have to take your finances and your health into account and try to cover yourself for the coming year. Many of these plans require a one-year term at least, if you are signing up for them. So, you will want to ensure that you need the coverage all year long in order to make it worthwhile to sign up for one of them.
Keep in mind that your needs will be changing all the time and the plan you choose this year that fits you well may not be the same one that’s a good fit for you in a few years. Be sure to check back on the plans and what they are offering and compare them to your own needs every year.
Of course, you need to take your finances into consideration as well. You may not be able to afford the kind of coverage plan that you want. Be sure to only sign up for a Medicare Benefits in 2019 that you can afford, as that’s the only kind that has the potential to save you some money. You’ll also want to compare the plans to find the most suitable one at the best price in order to avoid spending too much money on medical coverage.