You’ve pinched and saved your entire life to create a nest egg for the glorious day that you plan on retiring and live in perpetual relaxation. Now, to just get to that destination! As you try to crunch the numbers in regards to Social Security, pensions, 401K, other investments, and create a budget on a fixed income, one small aspect of retirement planning is taunting you: Medicare!
You’re smart and successful, but let’s face it, Medicare is complex and confusing. And, if you’re fortunate enough to turn 65, then you likely have the questions: How does Medicare work and when do I enroll? First, everyone becoming eligible gets a book called Medicare and You. Yet, even with that resource, it can be confusing. Just as your plan for retirement has not necessarily followed the same course as your friends and family, your health insurance planning may not either. However, it is just as important to plan your health insurance as it was to plan for your nest egg.
There are a few things that are imperative to keep in mind:
- Understand your options. As our friends at ConnectedHealth firmly believe, an educated consumer is an empowered consumer who has the ability to decipher the differences between options and understand how to build a solution for your individual needs. There are plenty of resources out there to help you get a handle on what you might need.
- Do the math. Make these decisions from an annual cost perspective. For example, look at your total out-of-pocket costs per plan. Monthly cost + Out-of-Pocket Expenses = Annual Costs.
- Make sure your doctor accepts your coverage. What good is your insurance if you cannot find a doctor? One of the biggest concerns people have is finding a physician. Remember: the Original Medicare Network is the largest provider network in the country.
- Check the medicine cabinet. Well, not literally. But if you’re married, you may have been enrolled on the same plans as your spouse, and prescription drug planning is going to give you the opportunity to look at things as an individual. You’re probably not taking the same medications as your spouse, so each plan is created a little different. Look at your medication list and choose a plan based on your medications – not for any other reason. (In other words, look at the total annual cost, not just the monthly costs).
- Sit back and breathe. Just remember, enrolling into Medicare may make you crazy at times but there are professionals that are able to assist with any of these steps and take away any anxiety you may feel.
By working with a trusted advisor and learning about the different parts of Medicare, including GAP plans, you will have the ability to decipher your Medicare planning needs. One last thought, timing is everything, so begin this process about three months before you retire or turn 65. Your ConnectedHealth Marketplace offers you coverage until you turn 65, at that point you will need to begin transitioning to Medicare.
Guest blogger Cambria Smith is CEO of Transitions RBG, which works as a partner to companies nationwide, including ConnectedHealth, to ensure that retirees receive a full educational introduction to Medicare as well as understanding of all their options during enrollment periods.