Medicare is one of the most popular types of insurances used today. People who have disabilities, or are ages 65 and older can qualify for Medicare. Medicare is composed of several different “parts.”  These “parts” can get confusing and many people have difficulty understanding the complexities of the Medicare system and the different benefits it can offer. Listed below are the most frequently asked Medicare questions and their answers to help you. Better understand the system.

When is the best time to enroll and when is the best time to change my coverage?

Medicare generally has specific dates for the enrollment periods. For 2017, participants can enroll in the program from October 15, 2016 to December 7, 2016. During this time changes to your current coverage can also be made. Users can switch plans, particularly Advantage Plans if they qualify to do so. Enrollment can occur up to three months before your 65th birthday and three months after. Coverage can possibly be delayed if not done in the appointment time limit, so be sure to plan ahead.

Can I Switch Between regular Medicare and Medicare Advantage?

Yes, but there are specific dates in which to do so. If you would like to leave your Advantage Plan and return to the original Medicare option, you can do so between January 1st and February 14th every year. The February 14th date is also the last day to enroll in a Part D plan that will cover you. This new plan will start the first day of the month after your enrollment date.

What is the difference between Medicare and Medicaid?

Medicare and Medicaid are often confused. Medicaid is a program for low income individuals or families such as pregnant women, seniors, or terminally ill citizens. Medicaid is a program that is funded by both the state and the government. Medicare is funded by the federal government only and is available to individuals that have certain disabilities as well as to seniors ages 65 and older.

How much does an individual pay for out-of-pocket medical expenses if covered under Medicare?

Depending on which Part you are enrolled in is what will determine your out of pocket expenses. For example, if you are enrolled in Part B, premiums are established based on how much you earn per year and also if you receive Social Security, in which case comes right out of that check. Part A is generally free for most people once they turn 65 (Turning 65? Read more here) and used to work for at least 10 years in a job where you paid Medicare taxes. There is plenty of information describing the program as well as FAQ pages available to the consumer.

Medicare professionals like me can assist you in making the right choices on what coverage you need. There are many parts to Medicare, each with their own benefits that are offered with varying costs. Don’t be afraid to ask questions so give me a call to find the best option for you.