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Finding health coverage can be a complicated and confusing matter for most, especially if you don’t know where to start. Here are 4 things that can help when trying to find the right healthcare plan through Medicare or Medicaid.
1. Understand the Difference
Although the Medicare and Medicaid programs may intermingle, they are two very different things. Medicare is a federal program specifically designed for individuals 65 years and older and for those with severe disabilities. Medicaid, on the other hand, is a state and federal program that primarily targets low-income individuals. Both have the ability to provide a person or family with a sufficient amount of health coverage when choosing the correct one. Some individuals may be eligible for both programs.
2. Consult an attorney
It’s good advice to always consult a professional when trying to navigate through Medicare/Medicaid plans. Their extensive knowledge and experience with these complex programs will make it easier to make the right decisions while avoiding any potential complications. They may also assist with things like appointing a power of attorney and preparing deeds and trust agreements.
3. When to Apply
Medicare enrollment begins three months before a person’s 65th birthday and continues for seven months. If someone is receiving Social Security benefits, they will be automatically enrolled in Medicare Parts A and B. If a person is not receiving benefits, they will need to apply by calling the Social Security Administration at 800-772-1213 or going online.
A person can apply for Medicaid at any time. If they qualify, coverage could begin immediately. Applying for Medicaid can be done by going online to the resident state’s Medicaid website and filling out the application in the Health Insurance Marketplace.
4. Check With A Doctor
To avoid paying higher costs, it’s a good idea to make sure the physician a person is seeing is a participating Medicare doctor and in the Medicare plan’s network. This information can typically be found by calling the doctor’s office directly. In a situation where a doctor does not accept a Medicare plan, the Medicare.gov’s Physician Compare tool can provide assistance. This helpful tool lets a person search through a list of physicians in a specific area to see which ones accept Medicare.
Do you have questions about what to plan for as you or a loved one gets older? Get answers from local experts by calling REAL Services at 574-233-8205 or toll-free at 800-552-2916.
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