Senior Living Advice: Open Enrollment for 2023 Medicare begins Nov. 1

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By BETH DOW, Home Helpers of GA & AL

 Open Enrollment for 2023 health plans open November 1 and runs through December 15. 

If you or a loved one is new to Medicare, you owe it to yourself to find out all you can now so there are no surprises later. 

Let’s begin with a few definitions. There are two main types of costs to consider. 

No. 1 – Medicare premiums: A monthly amount you pay to belong to a Medicare plan. 

And No. 2 – Medicare deductibles: The amount of money that you will pay out of pocket for covered services before your plan coverage begins. 

There are four basic parts to Medicare. 

Part A covers hospital stays, skilled nursing, hospice and some home health services. 

Part B covers doctor visits, outpatient services, and medical equipment. 

Part C plans (also called Medicare Advantage) are sold by private insurance companies. Part C provides you the same coverage as Part A and Part B. 

Part D covers prescriptions and can also be purchased on the private market. 

While the premium rates will not be released until November, the standard Medicare Part B rate is expected to remain at $170.10 per month. While only about one percent of Medicare Part A enrollee’s pay premiums, those that do can expect to pay between $252 to $508 a month depending on the number of quarters of work history. 

Part C, or Medicare Advantage costs vary since they are sold by private insurance but have decreased over recent years. And Part D is expected to run around $31.50 a month. 

There are expenses that are not covered under Medicare. Routine vision checks, eyeglasses and contacts are not covered under Medicare. Hearing Aid costs are not covered. Medicare does not pay for routine teeth cleaning, x-rays, fillings or root canals. It does not pay for dentures or gum or oral surgery. Custodial Care, which includes non-medical home care, assisted living and nursing home care, is not covered by Medicare. Neither are Chiropractic treatments nor acupuncture. 

If you are spending your “golden” years traveling, you should also be aware that Medicare does not cover you when you are outside of the United States. There are Medicare Advantage plans that will cover emergency costs out of the U.S., and you can purchase a Medigap Policy that can help pay up to $50,000 of medical expenses while you are outside of the country. 

One last surprise to be aware of: If you are held in the hospital under observation and then require rehabilitation, Medicare Part A will not pay for your rehab. You must be admitted to the hospital for three days for your Medicare to kick in for the rehabilitation. Just because you spend the night in the hospital does not mean you have been admitted. 

Spend October learning the facts and finding out what plans will work best for you. You will be making decisions that you have to live with for a year. If you would like some “unbiased” help in making the decision, contact our local Area Agency on Aging at 770-854-6026. By researching now, you will be able to make the best educated decision for you and your loved one. 

Beth Dow is a Dementia and Alzheimer’s Educator, CAEd and Geriatric Care Manager. She is also the owner of Home Helpers of GA & AL in Newnan. Readers can contact her by email at [email protected].

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