Medicare & You 2020 is a handbook released by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). The CMS releases a handbook each year that details everything you’ll need to know about Medicare.
There are some changes to Medicare coming up in 2020, such as costs for deductibles and copayments, as well as benefit adjustments.
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This new handbook keeps you up to date on the most recent changes.
If you are currently enrolled in Medicare, you should receive a copy of Medicare & You 2020 by the end of October of 2019. If you have not received your copy by then, call 1-800-633-4227 to request one.
You may also view an electronic version of the handbook, whether or not you are enrolled in Medicare.
Medicare & You 2020 is well over 100 pages, so we’ve condensed the information for you below.
There are only certain times of the year during which you may sign up for Medicare.
When you first become eligible for Medicare, you will be given an Initial Enrollment Period (IEP) that begins three months before you turn 65 years old, includes the month of your birthday and continues for three more months for a total of seven months.
If you are already receiving retirement benefits from Social Security or the Railroad Retirement Board (RRB) at least four months before turning 65, you should be automatically enrolled in Medicare.
If you’re under 65 and eligible for Medicare due to disability, you’ll be automatically enrolled on your 25th month of receiving Social Security or certain RRB disability benefits. If you have ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease), you’ll be automatically enrolled the first month your disability benefits begin.
If you aren’t automatically enrolled, you can manually enroll during your IEP. If you have end-stage renal disease (ESRD), you typically must manually enroll as well.
Most people qualify for premium-free Medicare Part A (hospital insurance). Medicare Part B (medical insurance) is optional, though many people sign up for it.
The Annual Enrollment Period (AEP) is also known as the Annual Election Period and the Medicare Open Enrollment Period for Medicare Advantage and prescription drug plans, which lasts from October 15 to December 7 every year.
Section 1 of Medicare & You 2020 provides additional detailed information about Medicare eligibility and the various Medicare enrollment periods.
Different parts of Medicare cover different things.
Part A is hospital insurance and provides coverage for hospital stays and other types of inpatient care.
Part B is medical insurance and provides coverage for doctor’s appointments and other types of outpatient care along with durable medical equipment (DME).
Medicare Part C, Part D and Medicare Supplement Insurance provide additional benefits and are discussed in sections 4-6.
Section 2 of Medicare & You 2020 provides a detailed overview of the services and items that are covered by the various parts of Medicare and how.
This section of the handbook discusses how Original Medicare works, what you’ll need to pay, how Original Medicare is accepted by health care providers and everything else you need to know about using Original Medicare.
Medicare Part C is better known as “Medicare Advantage.”
Medicare Advantage is a type of private Medicare insurance that provides all of the same benefits as Original Medicare. Many MA plans offer additional coverage for things not found in Original Medicare.
The extra coverage that some Medicare Advantage plans may offer can include prescription drugs, dental, vision, hearing aids and more.
Medicare Advantage plans come in a variety of types, and section 4 of Medicare & You 2020 provides an overview of these types of plans along with:
Medicare Supplement Insurance, or “Medigap,” is another type of private Medicare insurance. These policies are used on top of Original Medicare to provide coverage for some of the out-of-pocket expenses required under Part A and Part B.
This section of the book details the various expenses covered by each of the 10 available Medicare Supplement Insurance plans. It also explains what else you need to know about Medigap including when and how to buy it.
Medicare Part D is the final type of private Medicare insurance. These plans provide coverage exclusively for prescription drugs and are used alongside Original Medicare.
Section 6 of Medicare & You 2020 includes information pertaining to Part D plans such as:
There are a number of programs and resources available for those who may have difficulty paying for their Medicare costs. This section of the handbook reviews the available programs along with their coverage and eligibility requirements
As a Medicare member, you are protected with certain rights. These rights include discrimination, privacy, provider access and more.
Section 8 of the book includes information about your rights and ways to protect yourself from being a victim of Medicare fraud.
As you’ve probably figured out by now, there is a lot of information to know as it relates to Medicare. Section 9 of Medicare & You 2020 describes the various ways you can get more personalized help with your Medicare both online and over the phone.
This section also explains how to compare the quality of health care providers and plans.
You’ll also find a directory of State Health Insurance Assistance Programs (SHIPs) for each state.
Medicare contains a lot of terms that may be unfamiliar to you. The final section of the handbook defines these terms for you in an easy-to-understand way.
The end of the book provides information about how to receive help in additional languages.
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Christian Worstell is a licensed insurance agent and a Senior Staff Writer for MedicareAdvantage.com. He is passionate about helping people navigate the complexities of Medicare and understand their coverage options.
His work has been featured in outlets such as Vox, MSN, and The Washington Post, and he is a frequent contributor to health care and finance blogs.
Christian is a graduate of Shippensburg University with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. He currently lives in Raleigh, NC.
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