By Brett Gottlieb
As a successful professional or corporate executive, you’re likely looking forward to the day you can kick back and relax in retirement. As you make your way through your retirement planning checklist, don’t forget to consider healthcare. A commonly overlooked—and complicated—part of transitioning into retirement is navigating Medicare’s enrollment options.
To help simplify things a bit, we’ve put together an outline of the types of Medicare plans available as well as the various enrollment periods. If you’re already enrolled, now is an ideal time to reassess your coverage to ensure it’s still the best fit.
Medicare coverage is divided into 4 parts and each part has different coverage levels:
- Medicare Part A: Also known as hospital insurance, Medicare Part A covers inpatient hospital care and some nursing care coverage. If you or your spouse paid Medicare payroll taxes during your working years for at least 10 years, Part A is free for you. If you didn’t, you can still get coverage by paying a monthly premium.
- Medicare Part B: Part B covers typical medical expenses and preventative care including doctor visits and other outpatient services. You will pay a monthly premium for Part B coverage. Together, Parts A and B are known as Original Medicare.
- Medicare Part C: Known as Medicare Advantage, this is an alternative to Original Medicare that is offered through Medicare-approved private companies. This plan bundles Part A and Part B and often includes Part D as well. Medicare Advantage plans usually cover additional services not offered by Part A, Part B, or Part D, including vision, hearing, and dental visits.
- Medicare Part D: This is an optional private insurance add-on that includes drug coverage. Keep in mind that Part D has a late enrollment penalty. Even if you don’t need prescription coverage when you are first eligible for Medicare, you should enroll in the plan to avoid extra long-term costs.
One of the more confusing aspects of open enrollment is that it does not apply to those who have not yet enrolled in Medicare. If that’s you, your initial enrollment period is based on your birthday, not a set date on a calendar. You need to sign up for coverage during the window of time that starts three months before the month of your 65th birthday and ends at the end of the third month after, for a total of seven months.
The open enrollment period is for those who are already enrolled in Medicare and would like to make changes to their coverage. The open enrollment period affects each part separately. Here’s what you can do with your Medicare coverage during open enrollment:
- If you have Medicare Parts A & B,you can switch to Part C.
- If you have Medicare Part C, you can switch back to Original Medicare or change to a different Medicare Advantage Plan.
- If you have Part D, you can switch to a different Part D plan or drop your prescription drug plan.
You can also use this time to enroll in Part C and Part D for the first time.
This year, Medicare open enrollment begins on October 15th and remains open through December 7th. The decisions you make during this period will affect your 2023 Medicare coverage.
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.
Yes, choosing the right Medicare plan can be a complicated endeavor. But choosing the wrong plan could negatively impact your wealth management strategy. The bottom line is that taking your time to shop around for the right plan will benefit your health and medical needs and your pocketbook.
Keep in mind that you don’t have to navigate this process on your own. We at Comprehensive Advisor are here to help you reassess which plan will work best for you. Email us at info@ComprehensiveAdvisor.com or call (760) 813-2125 to get started today!
Brett Gottlieb is the founder of Comprehensive Advisor and a financial advisor with nearly two decades of industry experience. He graduated from California State University-Chico with two bachelor’s degrees in Business Administration and Economics. Brett is Life Insurance licensed in several states. He is passionate about guiding his clients on retirement income planning, helping each client pursue their specific retirement goals and defending the assets his clients have worked so hard to achieve. Brett is a California native and currently resides in San Elijo Hills with his beautiful wife and three children.
Our team of qualified professionals have experience in the financial service industry and our advisors hail from some of the largest independent broker/dealers and banking institutions in the country. They have dedicated their professional careers to creating personalized financial solutions for individuals and families who seek successful retirement planning and currently offer investment advisory services through AE Wealth Management, LLC. Our advisors take a common-sense approach to the planning process and work with clients to create a retirement road map to help ensure their assets are protected and they receive the income needed to enjoy their future. Based in Carlsbad, California, they work with clients throughout San Diego County and beyond. Learn more by connecting with Brett on LinkedIn or email them at info@ComprehensiveAdvisor.com.
Investment advisory services made available through AE Wealth Management, LLC (AEWM). AEWM and Comprehensive Advisor are not affiliated companies. C.A. Financial & Insurance Services, CA Ins. Lic. #6000262. This material is intended to provide general information and is believed to be reliable, but accuracy and completeness cannot be guaranteed. Neither the firm nor its representatives may give tax or legal advice. Investing involves risk, including the potential loss of principal. Any references to protection benefits, safety, security, lifetime income, etc. generally refer to fixed insurance products, never securities or investment products. Our firm is not affiliated with the U.S. government or any governmental agency. Insurance and annuity product guarantees are backed by the financial strength and claims-paying ability of the issuing insurance company. 1487386 – 9/22
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