There are a few different ways to compare health insurance companies for seniors. One way would be to pick a few of the most well known health care companies and visit their websites or call them for a quote. Another easy way to compare health insurance companies for seniors would be to use comparison sites on the internet.
There are quite a few sites on the internet that allow you to do a health insurance comparison. Some are thinly-veiled ad sites for a particular company or group of companies, but others are legitimate. If you look around long enough, you will begin to get a sense of which companies are offering legitimate comparisons.
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In terms of what you should be comparing, you need to look well beyond the cost of health insurance premiums. It is best to have a clear picture of what you need in health care coverage. This includes whether or not you need dental or vision coverage, long term care insurance, and other options you might need.
Once you figure out all that, you can start to look at what different health insurance companies have to offer. You’ll also want to compare the deductibles, co-payments and prescription drug benefits.
Where does Medicare fit into health insurance?
For most American seniors, Medicare will be their primary insurer. Between Medicare Part A and B, most hospital visits, treatments and visits to doctors and specialists will be covered by Medicare. A more comprehensive list of what is or is not covered by Medicare is available on the Medicare website.
Medicare is generally much less expensive than traditional health care. For Medicare Part A, the hospitalization part of the insurance, most people do not pay a premium at all. This is because they have prepaid through the Medicare tax they have paid through the years. There is a premium for Medicare Part B, but it is generally lower than most health insurance premiums, and is based on your current income.
Do I need Medicare Part C or Medicare Part D?
Even if someone uses Medicare, there still might be times where they will be using private health insurance in conjunction with Medicare. That’s where Medicare Parts C & D come in.
Medicare Parts C & D are add-ons to basic health insurance that you may or may not require. Both are run by independent insurance companies approved by Medicare and each company has its own rules and fee structure.
For Medicare Part C, you would basically enroll in an HMO (health maintenance organization), PPO (preferred provider organization) or other traditional insurance plan that would cover all of your Medicare Part A & B benefits and also provide some extra benefits like wellness care, vision care or dental care. There would be an additional premium for Medicare Part C, and you might be limited to using a specific HMO or PPO health insurance network.
Medicare Part D is essentially prescription drug coverage. Medicare Part D could be part of one of the health plans from Medicare Part C, or it could be purchased individually. The costs associated with Medicare Part D include premiums, deductibles and co-payments; these costs can vary quite a bit from provider to provider.
Do I need to draw Social Security to be eligible?
According to the Social Security website, you may be eligible for Medicare if you are eligible for Social Security. However, it is not the only way to be eligible, nor do you actually have to draw Social Security.
You can also be eligible for Medicare if your spouse is eligible, if you are eligible for railroad benefits, if you or your spouse worked in a government job that paid Medicare taxes for ten years or more, or if your child is fully insured and you are their dependent and they become deceased. If you don’t qualify based on any of those criteria, you might still be able to get Medicare by simply paying a monthly premium.
It is important to note that it is a good idea to apply for Medicare even before you are eligible, ideally up to three months in advance. You should do this even if you do not elect to draw Social Security immediately. Failing to sign up for Medicare on time can lead to late enrollment penalties.
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