Four key takeaways
✔ Know the basic differences between Medicare Parts A, B, C, and D.
✔ Enroll in Medicare for single coverage only; your spouse enrolls on his or her own.
✔ Explore your options every year—even if you’re already retired.
✔ Consider key factors: cost, coverage, travel plans, and access to preferred doctors and hospitals.
What are the main differences between the alphabet soup of Medicare Parts A, B, C, and D? Can I enroll my spouse when I sign up? How easy is it to switch plans? Do I need a supplemental plan? What role does Medicare play as part of my retirement income strategy?
Marcia Mantell, president of Mantell Retirement Consulting fielded these and other common Medicare questions at a recent webcast hosted by Kerry Sweeney Harris, vice president at Fidelity Investments.
In addition to explaining the key concepts of Medicare, Mantell and Sweeney answered a wide range of questions from Fidelity customers. Among them:
- What are the basic things I should know about Medicare as I approach age 65?
- What are the basic differences in eligibility requirements for Medicare vs. Medicaid?
- How do I pick the Medicare Part D best option that may be best for me-- and what costs can I expect?
- What is Medigap insurance and why do people need it?
- What is the enrollment window for Medicare ?
- How long does it take to get Medicare coverage after I apply for it?
- Can you discuss the pros and cons of the Medicare Advantage plans?
- When should I start to think about building Medicare into my retirement income plans?
Having the right Medicare coverage is a key part of your retirement plan. There are many options to explore, so be thorough. Remember, you can enroll in Medicare only for single coverage. Your spouse or partner will not be covered by your plan and is required to enroll on his or her own. Among the many factors to consider in your Medicare decision: health status, cost, coverage, amount of travel you plan to do, and access to existing or preferred doctors and hospitals.