Enrollment is underway for Medicare nationwide. As MPB's Desare Frazier reports there's help for Mississippians to get through the process.
Mississippians turning 65 or those eligible due to a disability can enroll in Medicare now through December 7. Medicare is a federal insurance program with four parts that covers 80 percent of medical expenses. Elder Law Attorney Richard Courtney explains Parts A & B.
"It pays for hospital costs that's Part A. Part B pays for other things like outpatient doctor visits and diagnostic test like x-rays and so forth," said Courtney.
Courtney says Part B is required coverage and the premiums begin at $135 and increase depending on income. Part C is Medicare Advantage Plans which are operated by private insurers who administer coverage for enrollees. Mississippi Insurance Commission Mike Chaney says advantage plans can provide more benefits like prescriptions, dental and vision or eye exams. But he says they are more expensive and warns consumers.
"You have a network where you have to at least look at the doctors you can go see and the drugs that maybe covered under the plan and we caution folks about Medicare Advantage Plans. Be certain your doctor is in the network at the plan that you're looking at buying has," said Chaney.
Chaney says advantage plans are difficult to get out of. Medicare Part D covers prescription drugs. Enrollees must pay for those plans and those who don't participate are charged a penalty for the life of their coverage when they do sign up. There are supplemental plans that pay for what Medicare doesn't. For more information on coverage visit healthcare.gov.medicare or the Mississippi Insurance Department at: 800-562-2957.