Easy to Understand Medicare Information
What to Expect
How do I enroll into Medicare? Should I enroll into Medicare? At NW Medicare Advisors, we are committed to making sure you understand how Medicare works and how to get the most from it. There is no cost to the consumer for our services.
As a group of local, licensed Medicare brokers, we take an education first approach. While we can certainly take you through an efficient and streamlined process that can put coverage in place in a single phone call, we prefer to take a more methodical approach to your situation. Representing multiple insurance companies allows us to ensure your healthcare matches up with your needs and wants.
We have developed an easy-to-understand process. Experience has taught us that people who understand how their Medicare plans work, will benefit the most. Please feel free to contact us, we’re happy to help.
Setting the stage: we first get to know you and your timeline to obtain Medicare. This ensures that each interaction with us is efficient and tailored to your specific needs.
Each individual (even within a couple) has their own decision to make, and we want to make this process as simple as possible for you. To that end, we offer meetings virtually, over the phone, or in person while practicing safe social distancing.
We approach business from an educational perspective – we will help you gain a broad understanding of Medicare before diving into details. Some of the common questions we address include:
- What are the different sides of Medicare?
- What are the differences in plan costs?
- How do Medicare plans differ from group or individual insurance?
Making sure that your doctors and prescriptions are covered in your plan is of utmost importance. What are the extra benefits in a plan that are most important to you (dental/vision/etc.)? We prioritize these with other needs and wants to ensure that your plan selection is accurate and complete.
Once we have covered relevant information and you are ready to move forward, we will assist you with enrollment. Taking you through the application process assures we are your agents moving forward and can assist when needed/wanted.
The application process is quick and can be done in person, virtually or over the phone.
At NW Medicare Advisors, we pride ourselves on being quick to respond when you need our help. We will provide you with the tools needed to navigate the ins and outs of your plan.
Our structured annual process of providing information and updates will keep you informed about your plan, with the knowledge that we are there if you need us.
We really are just a phone call, text or email away.
Areas of Expertise
How to Enroll Into Medicare Part(s) A/B
One way of getting additional coverage is called a Medicare Advantage plan. Medicare Parts A & B, combine to make Part C (also known as Medicare Advantage). By law, Medicare Advantage plans must provide (at minimum), at least as good of benefits as Original Medicare. Medicare Advantage plans may also combine a drug plan (Part D) and additional benefits not covered under Original Medicare (routine dental, vision, hearing, gym memberships, etc.). You must continue to pay your Part B premium.
There are many different types of Medicare Advantage plans and to be eligible to enroll, you must live in the plans service area (most often by county). With plans starting at $0/m (area dependent), it makes sense to include Medicare Advantage in our overall discussion about the different parts of Medicare and how they affect you fiscally.
Types of Medicare Advantage Plans
- Health Maintenance Organizations (HMOs) require you to use health-care providers in a designated plan network and may require referrals from a primary care physician in order to see a specialist.
- Preferred Provider Organizations (PPOs) offer both in and out of network benefits. Using in network health-care providers, generally will result in a lower cost to the consumer. This type of plan does not require a referral to see a specialist.
- Private Fee-for-Service (PFFS) plans determine how much they will pay health-care providers, and how much the beneficiary is responsible to cover out-of-pocket.
- Medical Savings Account (MSA) plans deposit money into a “health-care checking account” that you use to pay for health-care costs before the deductible is met.
- Special Needs Plans (SNP) are designed for beneficiaries with certain health conditions.
- Dual Special Needs Plans (DSNP) are specifically designed for those with both Medicare and Medicaid. Medicaid is extra help by the State and eligibility can be based on income and/or assets.
Medicare Supplement plans (also known as Medigap/MedSup) are offered through private insurance companies and function as a stand-alone policy. Plans are designed to pick up some or all of the costs original Medicare does not cover, like Medicare coinsurance, copayments, deductibles, etc.
Plans are standardized, meaning that all plans with the same letter (Plan G, for example) offer the same medical benefits no matter the company/county/state. While plans are standardized, premiums are not, and some plans may not be offered in every state. It is important to not only look at premium, but also the insurance company’s strength and claims paying abilities, when evaluating plans.
Current Medicare Supplement plans (Medigap/Med Supp) do not include prescription drug coverage and you must continue to pay your Part B premium.
PRESCRIPTION DRUG PLAN
A prescription drug plan helps cover the cost of medications, like copays and coinsurances. Commonly referred to as Part D, plans became mandatory for Medicare recipients in 2006. There are penalties involved for those that do not get a prescription drug plan (unless other creditable coverage or circumstance exists).
Prescription drug plans can be purchased as a stand-alone option (by itself) as an addition to Original Medicare, Medicare Supplement (Medigap) or another type of plan. Your drug plan may also be embedded in or already a part of the plan you enroll into, like a Medicare Advantage plan. You must continue to pay your Part B premium.
Traditional Medicare does not offer coverage for dental or vision services. We can make suggestions to help fill this gap in coverage. Representing several carriers, you will find us both well versed and knowledgeable regarding dental and vision options.
Many years of helping people has also taught us that, quite likely, there is more on your plate than just Medicare. In addition to our services, we have developed a network of trusted professionals who specialize in subjects that go beyond Medicare. Check them out on our Trusted Partners Page.