Strategies for Filing for Medicare Benefits

One of the most complex benefits provided by the federal government is Medicare. Numerous elections that affect your lifetime benefits cause people much anxiety. You will learn when and why to file for certain benefits under the Medicare laws in this article.

While working, employers generally provide health insurance benefits for its employees. The coverages are broad and provide a level of safety for the participants. However, when a worker turns age 65, some strategies must be considered about filing for Medicare in a timely and appropriate manner.

Medicare Part A is the program that provides hospitalization coverage for in-patient care, hospice care, skilled nursing facility care and home health care. The cost for this coverage is free to individuals who have worked forty (40) quarters during their career and contributed to the system through payroll deductions. When examining your paystub, the payment for this program is deducted from your gross pay at 1.45% per pay period. All qualified individuals should file for Medicare Part A coverage upon turning age 65 regardless of employment.

If an individual continues to work beyond age 65, Medicare Part A serves as a supplemental to the person’s employer-provided group coverage if the plan covers equal to or more than 20 employees. However, if the employer plan covers fewer than 20 employees, additional research will need to be performed with your employer-plan provider. The insurance company may or may not cover your healthcare needs as the primary insurer. 

Medicare Part B is the program that provides medical insurance for out-patient care. This type of coverage will provide payment for services from your doctors, durable medical equipment costs, preventive services and home health care. The premiums for Medicare Part B are borne, partially, by every participant. For 2019, the monthly premium for Medicare Part B is $135.50. However, some participants may be required to pay an additional amount referred to as the “Part B income-related adjustment amount” if his or her modified adjusted gross income is greater than $85,000 for a single person or $170,000 for a joint filer. Modified adjusted gross income is defined as adjusted gross income plus tax-exempt interest.

One area of the Medicare Programs that many people don’t understand, or utilize appropriately, is Medicare Part D, the prescription drug coverage. Anyone that is needing prescription drugs on a regular basis for their care should consider the benefits of enrolling in Medicare Part D. There are several punitive measures for failing to enroll at your first opportunity. Many different carriers provide plans for this program and a professional should be consulted to determine which plan is most appropriate for your needs.

Medicare is a wonderful program for those qualified individuals. You don’t have to worry or wonder if you are utilizing the program to its fullest extent. Consult a CPA or Certified Financial PlannersTM practitioner to assist you in enrolling for this important coverage. For additional information about retirement benefits and strategies, please go to our Compass Capital Management Resource Center.

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