When you or a loved one becomes eligible for Medicare, often the first place you look for information is online. Medicare.gov is the government website most people in New Jersey, and Americans in general, go to for information. Websites like Medicare.gov can cause anxiety of navigating a confusing website to find answers, forms, and more.
As recently as December of 2019, acupuncture was not a treatment covered by Medicare in any shape or form. It was only in late January of 2020 that the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) ruled that acupuncture could finally be covered, but only for patients with chronic lower back pain.
This comes on the heels of recent efforts to curb opioid dependency and abuse in healthcare, with acupuncture among those non-medicated treatments that could go toward pain management plans for those suffering from chronic conditions.
Have you asked yourself, “Am I on Medicaid or Medicare?” In discussions of government healthcare, these two words always come up and can even sometimes be mistaken for each other. In discussing Medicare vs Medicaid, the distinct difference between the two programs is how to qualify: Medicare is for individuals age 65 and older or on Social Security Disability, while Medicaid is entirely income and asset based. There is no competition between the two; they serve completely different groups of people however you can have Medicare and Medicaid if you meet the qualifications for both!
Whether you're a custodial guardian or just giving mom or dad a hand, you and many people like you all over New Jersey assist their parents with their Medicare concerns every year. They may be new to Medicare, doing a review during the enrollment periods, or maybe there's a problem that needs solving.
In 2019, over 1.6 million New Jersey residents were enrolled in Medicare, up from just over 1.5 million the year before, and the number will increase this year as well. Perhaps you are counting yourself among those people for the first time this year, or you are taking a look at how you might like your enrollment to change. Either way, there are several options from which to choose.
We continue to take steps here in the state of New Jersey and across the nation to combat the spread of Coronavirus through social distancing, PPE, and wearing face coverings. Medicare recipients are the most vulnerable populations so what is Medicare doing to combat the novel Coronavirus, or COVID-19?
The most common reason to delay Medicare B is that you choose to continue working past age 65, or your spouse continues to work, and you happen to enjoy a decent healthcare plan that your employer provides. Check with the employers' HR department to see what their policies are regarding Medicare. If the employer has fewer than 20 employees, then you still need to go ahead and enroll in Medicare because that will be your primary insurer. The opposite is the case if your employer has more than twenty employees, but only if you are still an active employee.
For many people, enrolling in Original Medicare (Parts A and B) is really only the beginning of the experience. Often, people find they need more coverage than what comes with it, and more to the point, they may not be able to afford all the coverage they need, especially when prescription costs and other issues come to the forefront. It's important to know that regardless of your situation, there is help available for you, whether it's an advisor to give you the information you need to make your best healthcare decisions, or additional financial aid through Medicare assistance programs.
New Jersey residents can enroll in Medicare Parts A and B when they are first eligible, however, some people choose to forego enrolling in Part B until later and need to know what to do when later comes.
Who gets Automatically Enrolled in Medicare?
Medicare Part A has no charge to it so most people elect to take it even if they still have employer coverage. Medicare Part B has a monthly fee to it so when you are eligible for Medicare you have to decide whether to accept Medicare Part B or delay it.
Everyone needs a little help sometimes. When it comes to navigating healthcare concerns, multiply the odds of needing assistance by a hundred. Dealing with Medicare? With literally hundreds of plans and combinations to choose from, you have your work cut out for you.
The good news is NJ Medicare Brokers is here to help you, whether your troubles are purely financial or you need an extra pair of eyes and maybe an expert hand to help you sort through your options. Medicare help is usually only a few clicks or even a short phone call away, no matter what your issue.
Many New Jersey residents find that once Original Medicare kicks in, prescription medication costs can be unaffordable. Although Medicare has coverage for medications through Part D this part of Medicare can leave high out of pocket costs, especially for brand name medications.
Medicare Part D is an additional policy, with a premium, that focuses specifically on prescription drug costs. For some, assistance needs to go a step further, and this is where prescription assistance programs like the Pharmaceutical Assistance to the Aged and Disabled program (or PAAD) come in.
Medicare brokers are tied to no specific private insurance company. Some might be appointed to different companies, but never just one. When you're planning ahead, or when you have questions, remember there's someone there to give you detailed, informed answers, and it doesn't cost you a dime. Consult with an agent through a company like the New Jersey Medicare Brokers, and arrange a meeting so that you are the most prepared you can be for your next important Medicare decisions.
While it is possible to work out your Medicare for yourself, finding a broker to work with you is like taking an open-book test with a personal assistant: You have somebody to talk to who isn't going to tell you what the right answers are, but can give you all the information you need to decide for yourself. Engage with a NJ Medicare broker if you would like:
- Expert advice, for free. Independent Medicare brokers have one job, and that is to know as much as they can about Medicare and the various policies you can choose. Your NJ Medicare broker should also charge you absolutely nothing.
- Unbiased information. Medicare brokers are not beholden to any single private insurance company, and part of their job is to tell you about plans and policies that are the best for you, even if it means changing carriers.
A wide umbrella of choices. Because your NJ Medicare broker is not tied to any one company, it means they can tell you about policies from a vast array of different sources.
Once Medicare Parts A and B kick in, whether you have one or both, your coverage sits in two broad categories: hospitalization, and medical equipment and supplies. What is noticeably absent from those is prescription drug costs. Medicare Part D is an essential part of your complete healthcare package, however it is an optional plan that you have to enroll in. Thankfully, for those seeking to add Medicare Part D, eligibility is simple.
Medicare recipients often find that Medicare's original plans do not offer all of the coverage they want or need. With Medicare Advantage plans, Medicare beneficiaries are offered the choice to get their Medicare through private companies which include additional benefits. Parts A and B of your standard Medicare plan cover hospital care and then medical, respectively, but it is possible that for you, your medical needs require a bit more coverage than that.