13 Things Medicare Won’t Tell You

Medicare provides health coverage for than 57 million people—it’s a godsend, but it can be a challenge to navigate. Here’s some insider know-how that will help you put the Medicare pieces together.

Tap into savings programs

Miniature business people stand on pile of money coin. Cash is king financial concept and more buy power.Vanilllla/ShutterstockThere are Medicare Savings Programs that can help pay for Part A and B premiums and out-of-pocket medical costs associated with deductibles and co-pays. “In addition, growing numbers of seniors who qualify for Medicaid are unaware of their eligibility for special Medicare Advantage plans that offer broader provider networks and richer medical benefits than available under Medicaid alone,” says Lisa Zamosky, senior director of consumer affairs for eHealthMedicare.com. If some of these Medicare terms sound like alphabet soup, this Medicare glossary of terms and definitions can help.

Use expert resources

Business Concept. Two tiny miniature figures of businessman standing on a bank book document with a handshake and group of businessman miniature figure standing around for a meeting.Montri Thipsorn/ShutterstockCustomer support teams for your Medicare or Medicare Advantage providers can be extremely valuable assets. They have the personalized data and resources to help make recommendations suited to your specific needs. “For example, if Spanish is your first language and you have difficulty scheduling or attending pre-determined appointments, they can help you find a Spanish-speaking primary care physician that encourages walk-ins. Additionally, if you have to visit a cardiologist, but are not fond of rigorous medical exams, they can help you find one that avoids over-testing,” says Vivek Garipalli, CEO and co-founder of Clover Health. If you’re still puzzling over the differences in these two plans, here’s our quick-tips guide to understanding Medicare.

Find state relief

Drog overdose concept. Macro photokirill_makarov/ShutterstockMany states offer subsidies to help with medical costs for Medicare recipients below a certain economic threshold. However, there is no systemized process for applying, and you may have to reapply every year, says Garipalli. “Customer support specialists from your Medicare provider can help or provide you with additional information in considering these options.” Here are 10 secrets to lowering your medical bills.

Realize you have some wiggle room

Miniature businessman thinking and standing on calendars using as business goals or future thinking.eamesBot/ShutterstockThere are limited periods during the year when people can sign up, change, or leave a Medicare Advantage or Part D drug plan. However, many people are unaware of their options when they’re not in the open-enrollment period. Life-changing circumstances, such as moving, entering a skilled nursing facility, or losing coverage because a Medicare plan is no longer available, can allow you to make changes to coverage throughout the calendar year. “During a special enrollment period, people can switch from Original Medicare with a stand-alone Part D plan to a Medicare Advantage plan that includes Part D drug coverage at no extra cost and find savings,” says Zamosky. If you’re a caregiver of a Medicare patient, here’s a quick lesson in how Medicare works.

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