Caregiver Tips in Helping with Medicare

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By Ross Blair, PlanPrescriber.com

1. Manage Timelines Effectively:

Medicare eligibility begins for U.S. citizens and legal residents when they turn 65. A person has a seven-month initial enrollment period that begins three months before their birthday month and ends three months after. During this initial enrollment period, a person can enroll in Original Medicare (Parts A&B), a prescription drug plan (Medicare Part D) or a Medicare Advantage plan.

If a senior wants to enroll in a medigap (Medicare supplement insurance) policy, the open-enrollment period starts the first month the person is both 65 and enrolled in Part B, and lasts for 6 months. During that 6-month medigap enrollment period, a person has a guaranteed right to buy any medigap policy sold in their state.

2. Don’t Expect a Notification:

If the person you’re caring for began receiving their Social Security benefits before age 65, they don’t have to apply for Original Medicare when they turn 65. But, nobody else should expect to receive a notice from Medicare when they turn 65. Medicare puts the responsibility on the individual senior to begin the enrollment process.

3. Know Your Loved One’s Prescription Drugs:

Compile a list of the future Medicare beneficiary’s current prescription drugs: names, dosages and required frequency of use. Then use the prescription drug plan comparison tool at PlanPrescriber. com to:

– Find out if the drugs on your list are generic or available in generic form. If a generic drug is available, ask the Medicare beneficiary’s primary doctor if it makes sense to switch to a lower-cost generic alternative.

4. Obtain Consent:

If you are a caregiver for your parents and are meeting with their doctor to discuss their health and treatment plan without them, make sure your parents sign a consent form so their doctor will be able to legally discuss their medical and coverage needs with you.

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