Medicare Planning: What You Should Know

medicare planning and stethoscope

Medicare, as it stands right now, is a federal healthcare system for senior citizens who can no longer work. It is also available for people who can no longer work due to a disability. Unlike Medicaid, Medicare is not based on your needs, but rather on your stage in life. Medicare is intended to help people in the end stages of their life, and one of the ways they can make life easier before that time comes is with Medicare planning.

Since Medicare is so hard to understand, and there are many applications for it, having a plan can help. A plan will guide you and your loved ones through how you can/should/want to use Medicare. If you use Medicare blindly, you may find yourself unable to access it or overusing it to your financial detriment.

You can plan your eventual use of Medicare similarly to how you can plan your estate for when you pass. Our estate planning attorneys double as Medicare planning attorneys who can help you make sure you’re comfortable in your older years. It’s never too late to plan ahead. Contact our Medicare planning attorneys, and take care of your future.

When Will You Be Eligible for Medicare?

You become eligible for Medicare in two instances. The first and most common way to become eligible for Medicare is when you turn 65. You do not have to use Medicare when you turn 65. You may wait to use it, or you can choose to never use Medicare at all.

The other way you can become eligible for Medicare is if you have a disability or what is considered an end-of-life condition or disease. Examples of end-of-life conditions and diseases include End-Stage Renal Disease and ALS, or Lou Gehrig’s disease.

What Are the Different Parts of Medicare?

Medicare is made up of four parts named Part A, B, C, and D. Our Medicare planning attorneys can walk you through each part and how to properly account for them in your end-of-life plans. Each part of Medicare covers a different aspect of your health care needs. You don’t have to use all parts of Medicare, but once one part is available to you, they all should be.

Medicare Part A

Part A offers you coverage for your caretaking needs. This can include at-home health care, hospitalization, and up to 100 days of nursing home care when you need it. For example, there are hospital deductibles that Medicare will cover.

The idea is that you are not left to financially fend for yourself when you cannot physically fend for yourself. If you become terminally ill, Part A will also cover hospice care so you may pass without stressing over your financials.

Medicare Part B

Part B covers the costs of maintaining your health, but you’re still able to take care of yourself daily. This can cover doctor’s visits, some but not all preventative services, some home health care, and medical equipment you may need to function.

The average breakdown of how much Medicare covers is 80% of covered expenses, but the patient is responsible for 20% of the cost.

Medicare Part C

Part C, also known as the Medicare Advance program, helps Medicare recipients acquire private loans to pay for health care. These loans will cover the costs that Medicare doesn’t cover, but may, in turn, restrict your choice of providers. Part C is less about coverage and more about helping people find other ways to get coverage.

Medicare Part D

Part D is an optional prescription drug plan. There are times when you may have to use Part B to use Part A or vice versa, but Part D is completely optional. You can use the other parts and be perfectly fine never using Part D.

Part D offers coverage for prescription drugs you may need.

Don’t Wait, Start Medicare Planning Today

It’s never too early to prepare your estate plans, and the same is true of medicare planning. You can set everything up so that as your life evolves and changes, you can make adjustments, rather than have to deal with every “what if” scenario all at once.

Our estate planning attorneys have decades of experience specializing in elder law, and medicare planning is a big part of that. If you need the help of a medicare planning attorney you can trust, contact us at Mazzoni Valvano Szewczyk & Karam today.

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