GREENSBORO, N.C. — Whether you get benefits from your employer, through HealthCare.gov or Medicare, enrollment is NOW. It can be confusing to sift through plans and know what you need.
Check out our 3-part Q&A segment with David Sevier, a health care policy expert & AARP volunteer, and Josh Peck of GetAmericaCovered.org.
NC Dept of Insurance SHIIP - Seniors Health Insurance Information Program
5 Vital Facts About Signing Up For Coverage at HealthCare.gov from GetAmericaCovered.org:
#1: Sign up by December 15th no matter if you're returning or this is your first time getting covered. The COVID-19 pandemic has caused the greatest health insurance losses in American history. Demand for coverage will be significantly higher this year, so beat the rush and sign up early.
#2: Coverage could be cheaper than you think. Last year at HealthCare.gov, 9 in 10 people qualified for financial help to make their monthly premiums more affordable. 4.7 million uninsured people were eligible for a plan with a $0 monthly premium.
#3: Shop and save. If you had coverage through HealthCare.gov for 2020, you should come back to update your information and compare your options for 2021. Every year, plans and prices change; you could save money by switching to a new plan that still meets your needs.
#4: Accidents happen and people get sick. One trip to the ER could cost more than monthly rent. Health insurance protects you from the unexpected.
#5: Free help is available. If you have questions about signing up or want to talk through your options with a trained professional, free help is just a quick call away. Call 1-800-318-2596, visit localhelp.healthcare.gov or make a one-on-one appointment now.
AARP: Tricare Open Enrollment
Want to compare Medicare plans? Try Medicare.gov
“What's most important to understand ABOUT MEDICARE is when the open period enrollment is. it's the month of your 65th birthday plus 3 months prior and 3 months after. if you miss that window you will suffer a 10% penalty every 12 months and that penalty doesn't go away once you start, and you pay that higher premium for the rest of your life,” said Scott Braddock of Scott Braddock Financial.
And while Medicare usually covers 80% of expenses and you pay about 20% out of pocket, you certainly don't want a hefty premium.
A key point to note about Medicare, it doesn't cover long-term expenses and it doesn't cover eye, hearing, or dental expenses.
Braddock also recommends getting up with an independent Medicare agent. They know the ins and outs and can help direct you. Braddock has several on staff but you can also Google "Independent Medicare Agent Near Me" to find one.