Things You Didn’t Know You Could Do With Medicare
By Space Coast Daily // November 28, 2019
Medicare, a health insurance program, is designed to help protect American seniors during their golden years by ensuring that they have access to the medical care they need when they need it at an affordable cost.
Even though it’s been around for over 50 years, many of Medicare’s benefits are often overlooked. Luckily, we’re here to tell you about some of the hidden benefits that you may not know about.
You Can Qualify for Medicare Coverage If You Aren’t a Senior
Although it’s mainly designed for seniors, disabled individuals and patients with end-stage renal disease (ESRD) can also qualify for Medicare benefits.
Depending on where you live, if you qualify for Medicare coverage due to disability or ESRD, you could be able to purchase Medicare supplement insurance.
The sale of insurance products is regulated by every state’s own board of insurance.
You Can Fill in the Medicare Gaps With Medigap Plans
Original Medicare plans typically offer basic health insurance coverage. For most people, they take care of about 80% of all their major medical bills, but without a Medigap plan to supplement your basic Medicare coverage, a chronic illness, critical injury, or even a short stay in the hospital, will run your medical bills sky-high.
Instead of paying out of your pocket or purchasing additional insurance, you can fill the gaps in your Original Medicare insurance by signing up for a Medigap plan.
The whole idea behind Medicare supplement plans is to protect you from the big medical bills that come with chronic or critical illness and medical emergencies by covering deductibles, coinsurance, and other health care costs that aren’t covered by your Original Medicare plan.
In most states, there are ten different Medigap plans, each providing the same basic benefits at different levels of coverage and different costs.
So, if you’re enrolled in a Medigap plan but you now want to get better coverage or a lower premium, consider changing medicare supplement plans, ideally, during the open enrollment period from October 15 to December 7.
The switching process is fairly simple; all you have to do is get in touch with the private insurance company selling the Medigap plan you want and complete their application.
If the new insurance carrier accepts your application, ask your current insurance company about their policies for ending coverage on your current plan.
Don’t Miss Out on the Hospice Benefits
Hospice care is one of the most underused benefits to Medicare among beneficiaries with a terminal illness. What most people don’t know is that hospice doesn’t mean that you’re giving up.
In fact, sometimes with good hospice care, a patient can live longer because so many of their needs are met.
If a patient is expected to live six months or less, the hospice benefit can provide them with care and comfort in their own homes.
Hospice care includes drugs for controlling symptoms and relieving pain, respite care that provides short-term relief for primary caregivers, and other services.
Take the Medicare Freebies
There are several preventive Medicare services that are often overlooked because people typically don’t think about them if they’re not sick.
From cancer and heart disease screenings and bone measurement testing to flu and pneumonia vaccines and counseling for those who wish to quit smoking, there’s a whole list of Medicare benefits that require no coinsurance or co-payments.
If you have Medicare Part B insurance, you’ll be offered a free “Welcome to Medicare” preventive visit that you can use within the first 12 months of your coverage.
And if you have a Medicare Advantage plan, you’ll also have access to free wellness benefits. Some Medicare Advantage plans, for instance, offer basic gym memberships and access to group exercise classes designed specifically for seniors.
Other benefits such as home health care and skilled nursing coverage often go unused because they have complex eligibility requirements, but if you qualify for them, many Medicare plans will cover between 50 and 100% of their costs.
So, if you need access to healthcare that can’t be provided by your primary caretaker or you have a critical medical condition that can’t be managed at home, going through the complicated application process will be worth the hassle.
When it comes to medical entitlement programs, Social Security tends to hog all the glory, but as you can see, Medicare can offer a lot of tangible and valuable benefits that many senior citizens don’t know about.
Besides the aforementioned tips, take advantage of the free annual wellness visit where you can have your vital functions, and health risks assessed and, accordingly, get personalized health advice that can help improve your quality of life.