Do You Have Questions About Your Medicare Plan?

  • By John Brown, CFP®
  • October 2022

2022-10_Gearing up for Medicare Open Enrollment- What You Need to Know

For many retirees, Medicare is an important component of their healthcare plan. Despite its importance, many people don’t understand Medicare or the full scope of benefits to which they are entitled. 

Not having a complete picture of the Medicare system and how your benefits work could have an impact on your finances. If you’ve ever tried to understand Medicare or navigate the system on your own and found yourself confused, you are the perfect candidate for a Medicare review. 

What Is Medicare?

Medicare is a health insurance program provided by the federal government for people over the age of 65 as well as disabled individuals. As mentioned, it plays a key role in covering healthcare costs in retirement, but it is not meant to cover everything. Understanding its coverage and its limitations is a crucial part of being prepared for retirement. 

Medicare is divided into four parts: Part A, Part B, Part C, and Part D. There are also supplemental coverages to consider. Here is an overview of the different options to review as you approach retirement:

Keep in mind that basic Medicare does not cover long-term care, dental care, vision, or hearing care. This includes Medigap supplemental coverage. You may think that you’re getting additional services when you enroll in Medigap, but that is not the case. Medigap only helps out with deductibles and copays, it will not provide additional services that Medicare does not cover. If these expenses are not properly planned for, it can be detrimental to your overall retirement plan.

What to Expect

What to expect depends on which stage of the Medicare process you’re in.

If you’re a pre-retiree thinking about enrollment, you should expect to sign up in the six months surrounding your 65th birthday (three months before and three months after). If you’re receiving Social Security benefits at that time, you will be automatically enrolled in Medicare Part A and Part B. Additional coverages like Part D, Medigap, and Medicare Advantage will have to be enrolled separately. If you’re not receiving Social Security when you turn 65, you will have to apply for Medicare through the Social Security Administration website. 

If you’re retired and already enrolled in Medicare, you should expect to review your benefit options every year. This year, Medicare open enrollment began on October 15th and remains open through December 7th. The decisions you make during this period will affect your 2022 Medicare coverage. It’s a daunting task, but Medicare costs and coverage levels change annually so it’s important that you stay up to date. 

If you are already enrolled in Medicare, here is what you can do with your Medicare coverage during the enrollment period:

Don’t get this confused with the Medicare Advantage open enrollment period that occurs from January 1st to March 31st, where those with Part C can change to a different Part C plan or switch to Parts A and B. Any other changes need to happen in the October-December enrollment period. 

How We Can Help

If your head is spinning, you’re not alone! Feeling confused and overwhelmed is a common response when our clients start to think about Medicare. That’s why we’re here to help. At Wealth Advocate Group, we help Medicare recipients feel confident in their plan decisions. If you’ve got questions about your current Medicare plan, or you’d like help navigating the enrollment process, reach out to us today. Call 440-505-5704 or email to schedule an appointment.

About John

John Brown is a wealth advisor at Wealth Advocate Group, LLC, an independent, fee-based wealth management company. With over 10 years of experience in the financial industry and a background in accounting, John provides sophisticated and specialized services to his senior executive clients who need the expertise of someone well-versed in concentrated securities and restricted stock strategies, as well as the risk and tax burdens that come along with their compensation. John has a bachelor’s degree in accounting and financial management from Hillsdale College and is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER® professional. John is known for his thorough approach, often asking questions and bringing up details his clients have not considered. He strives to address every piece of his clients’ financial picture to make sure they are on the path toward their goals and financial confidence. In his spare time, John and his wife, Christina, enjoy traveling and staying active. You can often find him spending quality time with his friends and family. To learn more about John, connect with him on LinkedIn.

Content in this material is for general information only and not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual.