Medicare For Dummies

For Dummies (Verlag)
  • 3. Auflage
  • |
  • erschienen am 25. September 2017
  • |
  • 432 Seiten
E-Book | ePUB mit Adobe DRM | Systemvoraussetzungen
978-1-119-34893-1 (ISBN)
Weave your way through the tangled web of Medicare
Medicare for Dummies, 3rd Edition will help you navigate the complicated, often confusing maze of the Medicare system. In simple language, with clear step-by-step instructions, the book helps you determine how and when to enroll, avoid costly mistakes, and find a plan that is right for you and your family.
Written byPatricia Barry, a nationally recognized authority on Medicare and Medicare Part D prescription drug coverage, this invaluable resource offers:
* Tips on reducing out-of-pocket expenses
* Guidance for knowing your rights and protections
* Ways to choose the best policy for you
With this definitive guide, you'll get answers to the most common and not so common questions about Medicare, to get the most out of your coverage.
3. Auflage
  • Englisch
  • Newark
  • |
  • USA
John Wiley & Sons
  • 1,63 MB
978-1-119-34893-1 (9781119348931)
1-119-34893-5 (1119348935)
weitere Ausgaben werden ermittelt
Patricia Barry is a recognized authority on Medicare who has written extensively about the program for consumers. For 18 years, as a senior editor of AARP's publications, she wrote hundreds of articles on Medicare and served as its online "Ask Ms. Medicare" columnist, answering thousands of questions sent by Medicare beneficiaries across the nation.
  • Intro
  • Title Page
  • Table of Contents
  • Introduction
  • About This Book
  • Foolish Assumptions
  • Icons Used in This Book
  • Beyond the Book
  • Where to Go from Here
  • Part 1: Getting Started with Medicare
  • Chapter 1: The Nuts and Bolts of Medicare: What It Is and How It Works
  • Addressing Some Upfront Questions
  • Coming to Terms with the ABCs (and D) of Medicare
  • Recognizing That You Have Choices and Must Make Timely Decisions
  • Chapter 2: Spelling Out What Medicare Covers (A Lot, but Not Everything)
  • Understanding What Part A and Part B Cover
  • Knowing What Part D Covers
  • The Gaps: Discovering What Medicare Doesn't Cover
  • Distinguishing When Coverage Comes with Limits
  • Chapter 3: Understanding What You Pay toward Your Costs in Medicare
  • Boning Up on Premiums, Deductibles, and Co-payments
  • Paying Higher-Income Premiums
  • Paying Different Premiums than Other People in Certain Years
  • Paying Medicare Taxes While Receiving Medicare Benefits
  • Chapter 4: Reducing Your Out-of-Pocket Expenses in Medicare
  • Purchasing Medigap Insurance
  • Qualifying for Help from Your State
  • Examining Whether Extra Help Can Lower Your Drug Costs
  • Considering Other Ways to Cut Costs
  • Part 2: The Hows and Whens of Medicare
  • Chapter 5: Qualifying for Medicare
  • Hitting the Milestone of Age 65
  • Qualifying for Medicare under Age 65 on the Basis of Disability
  • Falling through the Cracks: Health-Care Options if You Can't Get Medicare Yet
  • Chapter 6: Enrolling in Medicare at the Right Time for You
  • At a Glance: Surveying Situations That Affect Enrollment Timing
  • Understanding Your Initial Enrollment Period
  • Delaying Part B if You'll Qualify for a Special Enrollment Period Later
  • Enrolling in Other Specific Situations
  • Deciding Whether and When to Sign Up for Part D Drug Coverage
  • Understanding the Consequences of Not Signing Up at the Right Time
  • Chapter 7: Discovering How to Sign Up for Medicare
  • Being Automatically Enrolled in Medicare Parts A and B
  • Sign Me Up! Applying for Medicare Parts A and B
  • Opting Out of or Disenrolling from Part A or Part B
  • Knowing When Your Coverage Begins
  • Transitioning from Obamacare to Medicare
  • Chapter 8: Understanding How Medicare Fits In with Other Health Insurance
  • Understanding Medicare's Coordination of Benefits System
  • Seeing How Medicare Works with an Employer's Health Insurance Plan
  • Figuring Out How Other Federal Health Benefits Fit In with Medicare
  • Mixing Medicare with Workers' Comp or No-Fault or Liability Insurance
  • Part 3: Making Smart Choices among Medicare's Many Options
  • Chapter 9: Making Sense of Medicare's Many Options
  • Seeing the Big Picture: Your Starting Point to Navigating the Medicare Maze
  • Digging into the Details of Traditional Medicare versus Medicare Advantage
  • Discovering How Medigap Policies Differ from Medicare Advantage Plans
  • Chapter 10: Choosing Wisely If You Go with Traditional Medicare
  • Understanding the Need to Compare Part D Plans Carefully
  • Picking the Part D Plan That's Best for You
  • Choosing the Medigap Supplemental Policy That's Best for You
  • Chapter 11: Making Smart Choices If You Opt for Medicare Advantage
  • Comparing Medicare Advantage Plans
  • Choosing the Medicare Advantage Plan That's Right for You
  • Chapter 12: Getting Help in Making Medicare Choices
  • One on One: Getting Personal Help on Medicare Issues
  • Buyer Beware! Avoiding Scams and Hard-Sell Marketing
  • Part 4: Navigating Medicare from the Inside
  • Chapter 13: Starting Out as a New Medicare Beneficiary
  • Playing Your Cards Right
  • Beyond the Cards: Checking Out the Extent and Limits of Your Coverage
  • Managing Premiums
  • Keeping Track of Your Expenses
  • Dealing with Doctors
  • Filling Prescriptions for the First Time with a Part D Plan
  • Chapter 14: Getting the Inside Scoop on Using Certain Medicare Benefits
  • Taking a Closer Look at Part A
  • Zooming In on Part B
  • Delving into Part D
  • Chapter 15: Changing Your Medicare and Medigap Coverage
  • Switching Coverage during Open Enrollment or Disenrollment
  • Taking Advantage of Special Enrollment Periods
  • Dropping a Plan (Or Being Dropped)
  • Deciding Whether to Stay or Switch to Another Plan for Next Year
  • Changing to Another Medigap Policy
  • Chapter 16: Knowing Your Rights
  • Understanding Your Right to Accurate Information
  • Asking for an Investigation
  • Taking Steps toward an Appeal
  • Filing a Formal Appeal
  • Part 5: The Part of Tens
  • Chapter 17: Top Ten Medicare Mistakes
  • Thinking You Must Reach Full Retirement Age before Signing Up
  • Assuming You Don't Qualify If You Haven't Worked Long Enough
  • Failing to Enroll in Part B When You Should
  • Believing You Don't Need Part B If You Have Retiree or COBRA Coverage
  • Not Signing Up For Part D Because You Don't Use Prescription Drugs
  • Picking a Part D Drug Plan for the Wrong Reasons
  • Misunderstanding Enrollment Periods
  • Being Too Late to Buy Medigap with Full Protections
  • Failing to Read Your Annual Notice of Change
  • Not Realizing You May Qualify for Help to Lower Your Costs
  • Chapter 18: Ten Ways to Stay Healthier beyond Age 65
  • Taking Action to Avoid Falls
  • Exercising Regularly
  • Quitting Smoking
  • Eating Healthfully
  • Cutting Out Soft Drinks and Extra Sugar
  • Keeping an Eye on Prescription Drugs
  • Continuing to Work or Stay Active
  • Staying Connected and Engaged
  • Keeping Your Brain in Shape
  • Addressing Tough Choices before They're Necessary
  • Part 6: Appendixes
  • Appendix A: Sources of Help and Information
  • Government Help Lines and Websites
  • Independent Sources of Direct Help
  • Resources for Saving Money
  • Consumer Information and Advocacy Organizations
  • Sources for Updates on Medicare
  • Appendix B: Glossary
  • About the Author
  • Connect with Dummies
  • End User License Agreement


For most people, turning 65 or otherwise becoming eligible for Medicare feels like stepping into alien territory without a map. The signposts you think should be there often aren't immediately visible. When you ask for directions, you can't always be sure you're being pointed down the right path.

Medicare For Dummies, 3rd Edition, is the map you need. It gives accurate, practical information about Medicare in plain language. It shows you how to skirt pitfalls and avoid wrong turns that can cost you dearly. My goal is to help you make informed, confident decisions that take you where you want to be. How can I promise that? Because this book is, in essence, the result of thousands of questions I've received over the years from people just like you.

I know from many of those questions that people eligible for Medicare often receive incorrect information from sources - such as government officials - they should be able to trust. That's why, in these pages, I not only give you info that's firmly based in law but sometimes also identify certain specific regulations (by name, number, and website) that you can use if you need to prove to an official the legal authority for a particular point about eligibility, enrollment, late penalties, and so on. You can't find these useful references, which I offer as a kind of consumer empowerment, in other guides.

Confusion about Medicare is almost inevitable for two main reasons. Its regulations apply to different people in different ways, according to their specific circumstances, so the decisions you need to make may be unlike the next person's. Also, it offers an array of choices that can be bewildering if you don't know how to sift through them to get to the one that's right for you.

So think of your Medicare card as your passport into the terrain of guaranteed health care, where you're welcome regardless of income or pre-existing medical conditions, but you still have to find your way around. And consider this book the road map that helps you navigate the highways and some of the more obscure byways of that system and keeps you on track.

About This Book

This third edition of Medicare For Dummies provides information that was accurate at the time of going to press. But the new administration and Congress that came to office in January 2017 have announced proposals for radically changing three of the major programs described in this book - the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare), Medicaid, and Medicare itself. At the time of this writing, none of these proposals have passed into law. And, in the case of Medicare, any major change to the program wouldn't take place for several years and wouldn't affect people older than 55 at the time it goes into effect.

Therefore, in the chapters that follow, you find out what you need to know to get through the Medicare maze right now and get the most out of your coverage. You find answers to some questions that are barely addressed - and sometimes not touched upon at all - in official consumer publications about the program. You discover where to turn for additional help, if you need it. And, as in any For Dummies book, you can easily locate and understand the specific information you're looking for because of the reader-friendly organization and straightforward language.

As you may expect from a program run partly by a federal bureaucracy and partly by private insurance plans, you're going to meet some unavoidable jargon in this book. These terms are worth getting to know because notices you get from the government or the plans - or any to-and-fros you have with either - will be easier to understand. So I use the following conventions:

  • I explain new terms in Medicare-speak the first time they appear in the text. They're also defined in the glossary in Appendix B.
  • When you see the word Medicare used on its own, it usually means the whole Medicare program (as in "When you join Medicare ."). Sometimes it means the federal agency that runs Medicare (as in "Medicare may send you a notice ."). The agency's official name, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), appears as the source of information in some tables.
  • I typically refer to the basic Medicare program (Part A plus Part B) as "traditional Medicare." I call the private plans that comprise the alternative Part C program "Medicare Advantage plans" or "Medicare health plans."
  • I use the terms Part D and Medicare drug coverage interchangeably to discuss the Medicare prescription drug program. I refer to the plans that provide this coverage as "Part D plans" or "Medicare drug plans."

Feel free to skip anything marked with the Technical Stuff icon as well as the sidebars - those chunks of text that appear in shaded boxes. They're not necessary to understanding how to find your way through Medicare. Still, you may find them interesting. Ever wonder how on earth Congress dreamed up some of the more oddball bits of this program? You can find the answers in sidebars scattered throughout this book.

Within this book, you may note that some web addresses break across two lines of text. If you're reading this book in print and want to visit one of these web pages, simply key in the address exactly as it's noted in the text, as though the line break doesn't exist. If you're reading this text as an e-book, you've got it easy - just click the address to be taken directly to the page.

Foolish Assumptions

This book assumes that you don't have any working knowledge of Medicare - really, none at all! But even if you do, you can still find practical insights and useful tips to help you navigate the system more quickly, easily, and confidently. If you recognize yourself in any of the following scenarios, you can find help in these pages:

  • Your 65th birthday is on the horizon or coming up fast, and you realize you know nothing about Medicare or how to get it.
  • You're younger than 65 but will soon qualify for Medicare as a result of disability and need to know how it works for you.
  • You intend to continue working beyond 65 in a job that provides health insurance, and you aren't sure whether you should join Medicare.
  • You have good retiree health benefits from a former employer and wonder how they fit in with Medicare or whether you even need it.
  • You live outside the United States and want to know about Medicare enrollment and coverage rules - whether you're an American abroad or an immigrant.
  • You're already enrolled in Medicare but can use some help to troubleshoot problems, find a better deal, or reduce your expenses.
  • You need a crash course on Medicare issues because you're helping a parent, relative, or friend navigate the system.
  • In your job or volunteer time working with seniors or people with disabilities, you can use a plain-language reference to Medicare.

Another point: This book assumes no political standpoints. Medicare has always been a controversial hot potato, gingerly tossed between those who think of it as a social safety net that should be extended to everyone and those who see it as an expensive luxury that is a growing drain on the economy. If you hold strong opinions, fine; that's your privilege. But in these pages, the only "us versus them" undertone is a bias toward consumers (us) rather than politicians, government bureaucracies, and insurance companies (them). The aim of this book is to help you understand and deal with the system as it is now. If you want it changed - or don't want it changed - please tell your members of Congress, not me!

Icons Used in This Book

Icons are those cute drawings you see in the page margins now and again. Here's what they mean:

This icon signals important information. If you take anything away from this book, it should be info highlighted with this icon.

This icon draws your attention to on-target advice and practical insights that will save you time, effort, and maybe even money.

This icon raises a red flag to alert you to a Medicare rule or potential pitfall that may trip you up if you remain blithely unaware of it.

This icon points out information that's interesting but not crucial to understanding the ins and outs of Medicare.

Beyond the Book

In addition to the material in the print or e-book you're reading right now, this product also comes with some access-anywhere goodies on the web. For important Medicare do's and don'ts, pointers on enrolling in Medicare at the right time, and key sources of Medicare help, go to and type "Medicare For Dummies Cheat Sheet" in the Search box.

Where to Go from Here

Nobody expects you to read this book cover to cover. It's not a thriller or a bodice-ripper! But it does act as a plain-language reference to a program that millions of people use but few understand. So you can jump in anywhere to the bit you need, at whatever point you happen to be when grappling with Medicare. For example:

  • Want to know how Medicare works? Start with Part 1 to see what Medicare covers, how much it costs, and how you can lower...

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