A majority of people in the United States of America start developing health complications when they get into their retirement age bracket. These health complications arise mostly due to advancement in age. Advanced stages in life contribute to compromised immunity which leads to the body not being able to fight disease effectively. It is therefore important that as you near your retirement age, you prepare adequately to tackle the challenges that come in this phase of life. One of the best solutions that exist is getting a medical plan. There are several Medicare parts available, they include: part A, B, C and D. Discussed below is Medicare Part B.
Medicare Part B.
Medicare Part B, also known as medical insurance, is an important medical plan that is aimed at paying for medical services offered to you by doctors and other health practitioners, home health care, preventive services, outpatient care and durable medical equipment. This service is centered on persons aged 65 years and above.
If you are almost celebrating your 65th birthday, the enrollment period begins three months before your birthday and runs through till three months after your 65th birthday. This enrollment requires that you pay a premium. You can also decide not to enroll for Medicare part B when you turn 65 but then decide to do so later; there is still an opening for that. The difference is you will be required to pay a higher premium. The premium will rise by 10% for every twelve months that you qualified to enroll for Medicare Part B and failed to enroll. However, you might be exempted from paying this penalty if you qualify for a “special enrollment period” (SEP).
The general enrollment period runs from January 1 to March 31. It is important to know that the coverage period commences on July 1 of that very year you enrolled.
What is the Special Enrollment Plan?
This is a special insurance medical coverage under the umbrella of a group health plan. It is based on you or your spouse’s current employment. With this plan, you are not required to apply for Part B when you get to 65. The SEP allows you to sign in for Medicare Part B:
• During the eight month period that starts after your group health plan ends
• The time you remain under the group health plan and you or your partner’s employment continues.
Signing up for this plan is quite easy and can be done online. Some of the information needed while signing up include;
• Date and place of birth
• Current health insurance
• Marriage/ divorce details
• Name and dates of birth of your children
• U.S Military Service details
• Employment details
Once you have successfully submitted your details, they will be carefully examined and a Medicare card will be issued to you. This card is purposefully designed to seal your identity and has your unique number that is not shared with another. The card is available in three colors: red, white and blue.
Change is inevitable; therefore chances are that you might disenroll from this plan. However, there is still an option to enroll in future but it attracts a penalty fee. For re-enrollment purposes, the following steps are followed:
1. Visit the Social Security Administration website.
2. Fill in the application form with the necessary details.
3. Attach all the required Social Security documents and mail it.
In the event you are dis-enrolled from your Part B plan due to missing premium payment, you have a thirty day window for repayment from the day of dis-enrollment for your coverage to be reinstated.
If you are not in position to repay the premium within the thirty day window, you will be required to re-enroll during the January 1 to March 31 period.
Under special cases like emergencies or chronic illnesses, you will be given a chance to pay your owed premiums within an agreed time frame there after your coverage will resume.
This medical plan covers two major kinds of services:
• Outpatient service.
• Preventive services.
The outpatient services are those used for diagnosis and treatment purposes. They include: yearly visits to the medical practitioner, emergency room visits and ambulatory services. The preventive services mostly involve screening services to detect and prevent illnesses. Part B also covers other services like outpatient surgeries, clinical research and mental health services.
Apart from using age as a determining factor, blood disorders, sensory disorders, mental disorders, neurological disorders and cardiovascular disorders are qualification grounds for this plan.
The standard monthly premium for part B is $170.10; however, if your income is higher you attract an income related monthly adjustment amount that is arrived at based on your tax returns.
Medicare Part B also has a deductible, which is an amount you pay directly from your pocket before you start accessing the outpatient services. It is estimated at $233. Medicare Part B coinsurance is an amount you pay after meeting your deductibles. It is roughly 20% of your cost.
Therefore, when you are almost celebrating your 65th birthday or you are suffering from chronic disorders such as cardiovascular diseases, you can consider Medicare Part B which will be your game changer.
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