We use cookies to provide some features and experiences in QOSHE

More information  .  Close
Aa Aa Aa
- A +

Medicare Basics: 11 Things You Need to Know

2 15 117
22.09.2020

Getty Images

Heading into retirement brings a slew of new topics to grapple with, and one of the most maddening may be Medicare. Figuring out when to enroll in Medicare and which parts to enroll in can be daunting even for the savviest retirees. There's Part A, Part B, Part D, medigap plans, Medicare Advantage plans and so on. And what the heck is a doughnut hole, anyway? To help you wade into the waters of this complicated federal health insurance program for retirement-age Americans, here are 11 essential things you must know about Medicare.

1 of 11

Medicare is divided into parts. Part A, which pays for hospital services, is free if either you or your spouse paid Medicare payroll taxes for at least 10 years. (People who aren't eligible for free Part A can pay a monthly premium of several hundred dollars.) Part B covers doctor visits and outpatient services, and it comes with a monthly price tag—the standard premium in 2020 is $144.60 per month and is projected to rise to $148.50 in 2021. Part D, which covers prescription-drug costs, also has a monthly charge that varies depending on which plan you choose; the average Part D basic premium in 2021 will be about $30 a month, roughly the same as this year. In addition to premium costs, you'll also be subject to co-payments, deductibles and other out-of-pocket costs.

2 of 11

Getty Images

Beneficiaries of traditional Medicare will likely want to sign up for a medigap supplemental insurance plan offered by private insurance companies to help cover deductibles, co-payments and other gaps. You can switch medigap plans at any time, but you could be charged more or denied coverage based on your health if you choose or change plans more than six months after you first signed up for Part B. Medigap policies are identified by letters A through N. Each policy that goes by the same letter must offer the same basic benefits, and usually the only difference between same-letter policies is the cost. Plan F is the most popular policy because of its comprehensive coverage, but as of 2020, Plan F (along with Plan C) is unavailable for new enrollees. The closest substitute for Plan F is Plan G, which pays for everything that Plan F did except the Medicare Part B deductible. Monthly premiums for Plan G in 2020 ranged between $90 and $170, depending on a person’s age and state, according to MedicareFAQ, an insurance agency that sells supplemental Medicare plans nationwide. Anyone enrolled in........

© Kiplinger


Get it on Google Play