Updated: Sep 2, 2020
Businesses across the country and Hawaii were forced to lay off or furlough millions of workers as temporary stay at home and state-wide shutdowns went into effect to slow the spread of COVID-19. With health benefits tied so closely to employment for most Americans, the layoffs have left millions in an uncertain situation.
Senior workers who were unexpectedly let go from their jobs because of COVID-19 may be feeling overwhelmed about a forced retirement five to ten years earlier than they had been planning on and suddenly needing to learn about their Medicare options. Initially, there is a lot to learn but over time and with the right support, seniors can make a fairly seamless transition to their new health care coverage.
3 tips to ease the transition from private healthcare to Medicare
If you have found yourself unexpectedly needing to transition to Medicare, we want to make the process as easy as possible. Here are three tips to help make your transition from private healthcare to Medicare go smoothly:
1. Do not delay enrollment or you could be limiting your options. Most new applicants are eligible to enroll three months before the month of their 65th birthday and up to three months after it. After that, the general enrollment period is January 1 through March 31, although coverage does not take place until July 1. Fill out Form HCFA-40B (Application for Enrollment in Medicare) and take it to your local social security office.
2. Learn about your different plan options.
a. Original Medicare Part A covers hospital and emergency health care.
b. Original Medicare Part B covers doctors’ visits, etc., usually with a monthly payment, copay, coinsurance and deductible.
c. Medicare Advantage Plans (Part C Plan) are healthcare plans offered by Medicare approved healthcare companies. All Medicare Advantage plans cover everything that original Medicare covers plus most offer additional benefits such as vision, dental and hearing care. Note that seniors who go for a Medicare Advantage plan are still responsible for the Medicare Part B monthly premium but their health insurance is administered through their Medicare Advantage plan.
d. Part D plans offer prescription drug coverage.
3. The transition from private health insurance to Medicare will change your healthcare expenses. In order to understand what your new healthcare expenses will be, it’s important to add up all your costs. What will your monthly payments, coinsurance, deductibles and co-pays be? If you find that your expenses are beyond your ability to pay, visit a local social security office to see if they can offer additional financial help.
After decades of using private, employer-based healthcare insurance, it can feel really overwhelming to transition to Medicare. This is particularly true for those who are being forced into the transition because of a layoff due to Coronavirus. Take a deep breath and learn about all your options before committing to a plan. Once you have learned about your options, you may have some specific questions that can be answered by experienced Medicare agents.
Contact Premier Benefit Consultants
If you're 65 or older and have been laid off or you're considering early retirement due to COVID-19, you'll probably need help getting health insurance. If your employer does not provide health insurance as a retirement benefit you will need to activate your Medicare Part B and then enroll into a secondary coverage. Contact Premier Benefit Consultants for free assistance learning your options and enrolling into a health plan that is federally funded and fits your needs. Call 738-4500 or visit pbchawaii.com to schedule an in person, telephone or virtual appointment today.