Popular Medicare Questions Answered

Answers to Popular Medicare Coverage Questions

Our financial planners have received many popular Medicare questions over the years. It’s no wonder some topics keep arising once you take all the deadlines, exceptions, letters and options into account.

We’ll answer several popular Medicare coverage questions and provide detailed resources. Also, if you’re considering early retirement, you’ll find alternative health care ideas to help you bridge the gap.

Remember, Medicare is an important piece of your retirement plan and requires planning in advance and adjustments once you’re enrolled.

Medicare Advantage vs. Medicare

We’ll get to popular Medicare questions shortly, but first, it’s important to distinguish between Medicare Advantage and Medicare.

According to Medicare.gov, “Medicare Advantage is a Medicare-approved plan from a private company that offers an alternative to Original Medicare (Parts A and B) for your health and drug coverage. These ‘bundled’ plans include Part A, Part B, and usually Part D. In most cases, you can only use doctors who are in the plan’s network.”

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Can I Change Medicare Advantage Plans Anytime?

A: Unfortunately, you can’t change Medicare Advantage Plans whenever you want to. Instead, changes must be made during the Medicare Advantage open enrollment period, which runs from Jan. 1 to March 31.

When Is Medicare’s Open Enrollment?

A: “Original” Medicare’s open enrollment, aka the Annual Election Period (AEP), runs from Oct. 15 through Dec. 7.

Tip: Avoid costly and irreversible Medicare mistakes. Download our Medicare Made Simple special report.

Does Medicare Require a Referral To See a Specialist?

A: Another popular Medicare question. Generally, a referral isn’t required to see a specialist. However, for Medicare Advantage plans, referrals are more common and limited to providers within your plan’s network.

Tip: What do all the Medicare letters mean? Check out our post, The ABCs of Medicare.

Does Medicare Cover Varicose Vein Treatment (and Other Unique Medical Needs)?

A: Generally, Medicare and Medicare Advantage will cover varicose vein treatment if your doctor says it’s medically necessary—examples include if you have persistent leg pain, swelling or run the risk of blood clots.

Keep in mind, Medicare coverage is dependent upon where you live. Ultimately, you’ll want to speak with your doctor to confirm which medical items, services and tests are covered.

Here’s a helpful alphabetized list of what Medicare will cover no matter where you reside.

Tip: Watch out for these 5 Medicare Enrollment Mistakes!

Do Mental Health Therapists Take Medicare?

A: Not all accept Medicare. To find a therapist who takes Medicare in your area, visit Psychology Today and search for your city and state.

Medicare Part B (medical insurance) helps cover outpatient and inpatient mental health care by a licensed health care professional, as well as prescription drugs you may need to treat a mental health condition.

Tip: Hear Adviser Investments’ financial planners explain how Medicare fits into your broader retirement goals in our podcast, Medicare Made Simple.

Will Medicare Call You?

A: According to Medicare, they’ll never call you to sell you anything or visit you at your home. Medicare representatives will only call and ask for personal information in these two situations:

1. A Medicare health or drug plan may call you if you’re already a member of the plan. The agent who helped you join can also call you.

2. A customer service representative from 1-800-MEDICARE returns your call if you’ve left a message or a representative said that someone would call you back.

Important: Medicare won’t call you for personal information or to provide a new ID card. If this happens, assume it’s a bogus Medicare scam.

Next Steps

If you’re receiving Medicare benefits, it’s important to fine-tune your coverage during open enrollment.

There are four key considerations:

  1. Differentiating between “already enrolled” and “initial enrollment”
  2. Evaluating current coverage
  3. Understanding what you can change
  4. Projecting medical costs to determine whether you should switch plans.

Finally, if you’re considering early retirement and do not yet qualify for Medicare, then consider these five health care options.

Want help navigating Medicare’s complexities? Contact Adviser Investments anytime for assistance. We pride ourselves on being The Planner You Can Talk To®.

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