For many people, signing up for a Medicare plan can seem like entering a dark maze without an end in sight. With the annual Medicare enrollment period now open, working with an experienced guide can make the entire process smooth and relatively painless.
“For most people, signing up for Medicare can seem really hard because there are many things to know and understand,” said Marta Jimenez, owner and licensed insurance broker at JimCo Insurance and Financial Services of McAllen. “But we can help you go through the process by explaining and informing you of all the choices available. That’s the key to selecting the correct plan for you: One that fits your needs, not someone else’s.”
According to Jimenez, during the open enrollment period, people who are already enrolled in Medicare have a chance to review their plans and make any changes they think are necessary for next year. Those getting ready to turn 65 or otherwise becoming eligible for Medicare also have the opportunity to sign up for a Medicare Advantage plan the first time through the Initial Enrollment time which begins 3 months before turning 65 and 3 months after turning 65 (a 7-month window).
“There are different parts of Medicare that help cover specific services,” Jimenez explained. “It’s not just one thing. Medicare Part A covers 80% of a hospital stay and Medicare Part B covers 80% of medical services like doctor visits, outpatient care, medical supplies, and preventive services. Medicare A and B do not cover drug prescriptions; instead, the customer needs to add a prescription drugs plan or get it through a Medicare Advantage plan.
According to Jimenez, if you are still working and have insurance through your employer you can postpone the enrollment on part B after your 65th birthday, without penalty. If you are losing your employer coverage insurance, or it is no longer effective for you, then you need to visit your social security office to complete the enrollment on Part B. That is where JimCo comes in. “We can help you understand the different parts of Medicare and what your choices are and finally help you with your enrollment in any plan you choose.”
“During the open enrollment period that runs from October 15, 2017 through December 7, anyone who is already enrolled in a Medicare Advantage Plan can make changes to their plans for next year,” Jimenez explained. Any change made during the annual enrollment period will take place on January 1, 2018.
Jimenez added that there are two main ways to get Medicare coverage: Original Medicare or a Medicare Advantage Plan (like an HMO or PPO). If you stay with Traditional Medicare A and B you can buy a Medicare supplement to cover the 20% and deductible that is not covered by Medicare. Also, you can add a stand-alone prescription drugs plan. If you have a Medicare Advantage plan, the insurance company with whom you sign-up will offer you a package with Medicare A and B benefits covered through them, and they can add the prescription drugs plan and additional benefits such as dental, vision, and transportation.
“There are many different Medicare Advantage, Medicare Supplements, and prescription coverage plans. They provide different levels of coverage and benefits with different costs,” Jimenez said. “Not everyone needs the same level of coverage because each situation is different.”
“We sit with our customers and get to know them and their personal retirement and health needs. That’s tremendously important in making all of these choices related to Medicare,” Jimenez said. “We take the time to listen to our customers and make sure that the choices they make really are what they need. We’re not going to offer them something that will not help them.”
Jimenez’s office is located at 5520 N. McColl Rd. in McAllen. She can be reached at (956) 467-6994. Her website is: www.jimconisuranceservices.com.