Medicare FAQ’s: Turning 65 in Virginia

Let’s face it, Medicare can be confusing for seniors who are new to the process and there’s a barrage of information, mailers and commercials causing an information overload! Below are our most frequently asked questions and answers from Virginians seeking Medicare, for seniors getting started in the Medicare process:

1. Do I qualify for Medicare?

If you meet any of the criteria below, you qualify for Medicare:

You are 65 or older. All Americans age 65 and up automatically qualify.

You are younger than 65 but have:

(1) a disability that has qualified you to receive 24 months or more of  Social Security disability benefits, (2) a disability pension from the Railroad Retirement Board, (3) Lou Gehrig’s disease or (4) you have permanent kidney failure requiring dialysis or a transplant.

2. What are all the parts of Medicare?

Part A – Hospital insurance that covers care inpatient hospital stays, hospice care, nursing facility services, and in some cases, home health care.

Part B – Medical insurance that covers services and supplies required to diagnose or treat a condition. These services may include lab tests, surgeries, doctor’s visits, and medical supplies. It also covers preventive services.

Part C – Also known as Medicare Advantage, Part C is optional coverage that gives more benefits than optional Medicare.

Part D – Optional prescription drug coverage available with Medicare. 

For more information, the AARP provides an excellent in-depth explanation of all the Medicare Parts here.

When can I sign up for Medicare?

When you turn 65, you’re able to enroll in Medicare for 7 months during the year; the 3 months prior to your birthday, your birthday month and 3 months after. So if you were born in July, you may sign up from April to October. (There are exceptions to this timeframe for those experiencing kidney failure or one of the others health issues listed above, but for most seniors enrollment happens within a 7 month period.)

How do I know what Medicare options to choose?

While seniors can research all the options on their own, having a Licensed Medicare Agent help sort through all of the choices can be enormously helpful as agents have access to ALL carriers’ information such as in/out of network doctors and prescription pricing. This allows for an apples-to-apples comparison of rates and benefits instead of the senior having to contact each carrier directly, one at a time.

One other point to remember is that not all plans are in every hospital’s network. This is a crucial piece of the Medicare puzzle that not all seniors may know to ask about, so having a dedicated agent during the sign up process, but also down the road, can save not only time but also money. Seniors might move, have questions or need adjustments to the plan after signing up, and their dedicated agent will help during the entire life of the plan.

Our Medicare help is not cost to you. Contact our team anytime if we can help with Medicare. 703.787-8300

Medicare explained by the experts at HealthMarkets, Stern Team

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