Last month we began a new blog series looking at some of the steps people can make to lower Medicare costs. So many Americans are covered with Medicare and rely on these programs without knowing how they work which cause them to make costly mistakes. Let’s take a look at some more steps on how you can lower your Medicare costs.
There will be times with how a particular procedure or treatment is classified that can affect whether your Medicare will cover the services. Take this example, if you are not admitted to a hospital when you receive care but you are treated as an outpatient under observation, Medicare Part A will not cover the rehabilitative services in a nursing facility after you have been discharged. So, if you are hospitalized, you should be asking daily about whether you are classified as an inpatient or outpatient. If needed, ask your doctor to reconsider and formally admit you, so that you can receive the coverage needed after you are discharged.
Sometimes, Medicare may not pay for dental care, but they will provide some coverage if the service is a health emergency. Knowing what kind of care is covered by Medicare can be complicated, so be sure to contact the billing department of the hospital or the doctor’s office. If they say that your care is not included, inquire about you can do to get the care classified as a covered service.
When picking a Medicare plan, understand that you do not have to stick with that plan for life. There is an annual open enrollment period, also known as the Annual Election Period which is from October 15 to December 7. During this period, you switch between Medicare Parts A and B, to Part C, or from Parts C to Parts A and B. You also have the option to change which Part C or Part D plan covers you. Now, when you change your coverage, the new plan will take effect on January 1 of the next year. Sometimes, it will make sense to change your plan. A great example would be if you’re diagnosed with a new condition, you might want to pay higher premiums for a more comprehensive plan. However, keep in mind that if you miss the open enrollment, you will not have the opportunity to change coverage for the year. So, place it on your calendar so that you have time to evaluate your coverage options and ensure that you have the best insurance for your situation.
Next month, we will look at shopping around for the right coverage and being smart about prescription coverage.