Are you looking for medical insurance that you can rely on not to change from year to year and that will not cost you an unreasonable amount? If you are a senior (65 year or older), then you are likely already eligible for Medicare in 2018. We are going to look at the basic Medicare plan here, how you can sign up for it and how you can get additional coverage, if you need it.
What Medicare in 2018 Does for You
We all know how expensive a trip to the hospital can be. Even a visit to the doctor for an annual checkup or a minor malady can be costly. What Medicare does is take care of most the common medical expenses for you. You will not need to pay out of pocket for nearly as many medical expenses once you have this coverage in place. It is considered the most suitable coverage for seniors, though your needs for medical coverage could be different from the average person. That’s okay, as there are lots of options for you, even within the Medicare coverage framework.
Medicare takes care of expenses such as much of your hospital stay. It can cover the cost of the room you stay in and a lot of the medical care you receive. It can take care of you for doctor’s visits as well, covering checkups and medical procedures that may be necessary. How it covers you can vary slightly from state to state, as different states have different definitions of what is medically necessary.
The Medicare coverage itself, however, does not change often. Medicare will let you know far in advance about changes that are coming down the line. It won’t blindside you with sudden changes to your coverage. This is true of all the supplemental and additional coverage that Medicare provides.
What It Takes to Be Eligible for Medicare in 2018
Medicare is typically available to anyone who is 65 years or older and a US citizen. There are some exceptions, however. If you have end stage renal disease or some other severe medical conditions, you may not be eligible, but generally, anyone who is over 65 is already eligible for this coverage, regardless of what medical condition they may have.
You can sign up for Medicare whenever you are ready, but know that Open Enrollment is always the best time to sign up. This is a period that comes only one time each year and usually last for a few months. For instance. 2018 Medicare’s Open Enrollment takes place on 2017 from October 15 to December 7. During that time, you can sign up for the Medicare plan of your choice and you are guaranteed approval and the best rates for that plan. You can also sign up for Medicare Supplement plans and Advantage plans and enjoy the same benefits, if you sign up during Open Enrollment.
If you don’t make Open Enrollment this year for 2018, there is no need to worry. There will be another Open Enrollment sometime in 2018 for the 2019 calendar year.
If you already have a medical coverage plan, then you may need to cancel it to sign up for Medicare. That’s only necessary if there is any overlap between your new plan and your old one. If you have an employer medical coverage plan or something similar that provides coverage for some of the same items as Medicare, then you will have to get rid of one of the plans. Medicare simply won’t allow you to pay for the same kind of coverage twice.
Additional Medicare Coverage in 2018
Medicare may cover you for a lot of your healthcare costs, but it won’t cover everything. However, you can sign up for additional coverage, on top of what the basic plan provides for you. You can be covered for expenses such as prescription drugs, more checkups, eyewear, hearing aids, deductibles and copayments. You simply need to sign up for another coverage plan on top of the basic one.
Now, with supplementary plans, you won’t be buying those through Medicare directly. You must go to private insurance companies to get that kind of coverage. If you are eligible for the basic plan, however, then you are probably already eligible for the supplement plans and other types of Medicare coverage plans as well.
Certain conditions can make you eligible or other types of plans too, and there are Medicare plans for those who have little income as well as for those who are part of protected groups. It’s a good idea to look at all the available plans before you settle on one to ensure that you are choosing the most advantageous Medicare plan for your needs.
Making the Most of Medicare in 2018
Medicare can do a lot for you, but you must know how to use it wisely to get the most out of it. There may come a time when you need to change your Medicare plan. You can do so, but the best time is always during Open Enrollment. You can change to whatever plan you like, but just know that the prices and coverage may have changed since the last time you looked at them.
Your own coverage needs may be different on a few years from what they are now. If that happens, then it may be time to change your plan. You will want to keep track of what your coverage needs are and update your plan as necessary to ensure that you have the most suitable coverage for your situation.
If you are not sure what Medicare plan is right for you or if you even need Medicare, then you should consult with your doctor and your insurance agent for advice. Take your time in choosing a plan and ensure that it is the most suitable one for you. While you can change later, it always costs less to pick the best plan right from the start. Medicare in 2018 can save you a lot of money on healthcare, but you must make a careful and informed decision when you choose your coverage.