Whether you’re the primary caregiver for your aging parent or simply an involved son or daughter, understanding the ins and outs of Medicare enrollment will help you guide your parents through the next phase of their health care needs.
First, know the basics. Medicare is a federal health insurance plan for people 65 or older. If your parent is disabled or has permanent kidney failure, he or she might be eligible for Medicare coverage even sooner. Medicare is made up of four parts:
Medicare Part A: Hospital insurance
Medicare Part B: Medical insurance
Medicare Part C: Medicare Advantage plans
Medicare Part D: Prescription drug coverage
Your parents don’t have to be retired to apply for Medicare. In fact, if they are within three months of their 65th birthdays and they don’t currently have any Medicare coverage, they can go ahead and register using the online Medicare application.
Original Medicare or Medicare Advantage?
The primary decision is whether Original Medicare or a Medicare Advantage plan is the best choice for your parent. Original Medicare includes Part A (inpatient hospital and skilled nursing facility stays, hospice care, and some home health care) and Part B (doctor visits, outpatient care, medical supplies, and preventive services).
Medicare Advantage plans (Medicare Part C) are offered by health plans to replace Medicare Parts A and B while providing additional coverage. Medicare Advantage plans from CDPHP include everything covered by Parts A and B as well as dental, hearing, vision, annual physicals, prescription drug coverage on most plans, and even free gym memberships and wellness programs through CDPHP Senior Fit.
Medicare open enrollment is now through December 7. Your parents’ health care needs will change over time, as will the cost and level of plan options. You should review your parents’ plan with them each year to make sure that their Medicare coverage is still meeting their needs.
Medicare enrollment is simple and can be done online or by mail, fax, or phone. If you take care of the enrollment process on your parents’ behalf, you will need to have power of attorney or legal guardianship. To stay apprised of their medical information after they’re enrolled, complete the Authorization to Disclose Personal Health Information Form, which allows Medicare to share their information with you.
If you would like to learn more about the benefits that a Medicare Advantage plan can offer your parents, call (518) 641-3400 or toll free 1-888-519-9287 Monday through Sunday, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.* You’ll speak to a live, knowledgeable CDPHP Medicare sales representative who will be glad to help.
You can also compare our plans and enroll online. CDPHP offers a wide variety of plans to meet all needs and budgets, including a new $0 Medicare plan with no monthly premium.**
*Our hours are 8 a.m. – 8 p.m. seven days a week, October 1 – February 14. From February 15 – September 30, Monday – Friday, our hours are 8 a.m. – 8 p.m. A voice messaging service is used weekends, after-hours, and federal holidays. Calls will be returned within one business day.
**You must continue to pay your Medicare Part B premium. This information is not a complete description of benefits. Contact the plan for more information.
CDPHP® is an HMO with a Medicare contract. Enrollment in CDPHP Medicare Choices depends on contract renewal.