Many senior citizens rely on Medicare for their healthcare coverage. It’s one of the more affordable options out there, especially for those that are retired. Despite the popularity of Medicare, many people don’t know all of the ins and outs of the process. Or the extra benefits they’re missing out on.

Not knowing the details of Medicare can result in wasted money, not to mention untapped resources. It’s essential to learn everything possible. This is true even if you’ve had Medicare for several years.

Signing Up

Medicare becomes available to senior citizens when they turn sixty-five years old. However, contrary to popular belief, you don’t have to wait until your actual birthday to register for Medicare. One can begin the process as early as three months before their sixty-fifth birthday.

Alternatively, those who don’t apply early have three months following their birthday to do so. Doing so anytime during these months will gain the most benefit. One can still sign up after these three months are over – but their rates will rise.

General Enrollment

General enrollment happens once a year at the same time (January 1 to March 31). It’s important to remember this step in the process. Additionally, remember that one’s plan is not locked in stone! You can switch plans each year. So if you didn’t like last year’s plan, shop around and see what other options are available.

Know the Different Benefit Types

When shopping through Medicare plans, you’ll notice that many are labeled Parts A, B, C, and D. It’s essential to know what these labels mean and how they can benefit you. Part A is hospital and inpatient care, Part B is preventative and outpatient medicine and appointments, Part C is more for private insurance, and Part D is prescription coverage.

Hidden Benefits

Many people may not be aware of the many benefits available through Medicare. Let’s call them hidden benefits. Hidden benefits include annual visits, certain counseling services, additional aid to smokers, hospice, and more.

These benefits can be beneficial for those in need of additional aid or mobility. For example, did you know that Medicare has options to help seniors obtain a wheelchair or other mobility aid?