Congress Fixes Some, But Not All, Medicare Enrollment Problems

Tucked in the federal spending bill that passed at the end of December 2020 are some changes aimed at simplifying Medicare enrollment and addressing coverage gaps. But Congress chose not to deal with the biggest problem. Currently, Medicare enrollment begins three months before the month of your 65th birthday and continues for three months after your birthday month (for a total of seven months). Medicare Part A has no premiums, but if you do not enroll in Medicare Part B or Medicare Part D (prescription drug coverage) during the initial enrollment period, you will face penalties (with exceptions; read on). For example, your Medicare Continue Reading

Help Paying for Medicare

Medicare is not free; there are premiums and deductibles. If you don’t qualify for Medicaid and can’t afford a Medigap policy, you may be able to get help paying for the costs of Medicare. There are four Medicare assistance programs, called Medicare Savings Plans: Qualified Medicare Beneficiary (QMB): The QMB program pays for Medicare Part A deductibles, Medicare Part B premiums and deductibles, and coinsurance and deductibles for Part A and Part B. Specified Low-income Medicare Beneficiary (SLMB): The SLMB program pays for Medicare Part B Premium. Qualifying Individual (QI-1) Program: The QI-1 program is an expansion of the SLMB Continue Reading