Consumer Tips

Help Your Parents or Loved Ones Get the Right Medicare Plan

Help parents or other loved ones compare their Medicare options during Medicare Fall Open Enrollment (October 14-December 7). It’s a good idea to make sure they have the plan that fits their needs even if they’ve been on the same plan for years as coverage may change or their needs may be different than when they originally signed up. Make sure by checking in with the Union Plus Retiree Health Insurance Program. This service is free to use for Union Plus members, retires and their families with no obligation to enroll.

Let’s face it, Medicare is complicated. If you help out parents or family members who are on Medicare age (65+) or under 65 due to a disability with their health care, you owe it to yourself and them to do an annual check to make sure their plan is appropriate to their needs. You can change Medicare plans during Fall Open Enrollment from October 15-December 7.

Medicare plans may not stay the same, and neither do your parents or loved ones. Because premiums may increase and benefits may change, your parents or loved ones may be paying more than necessary or not getting the types of services they need or want. 

Once a person is signed up for a Medicare plan, they will be automatically enrolled each year.  But it’s a good idea to check annually to make sure the coverage is what is needed. The decision should be based on several factors such as the beneficiary’s overall health, travel habits, medications and which plans include their doctors. 

For starters, there are two broad choices for coverage. One is Original Medicare, which covers hospitalization (Medicare Part A) and outpatient services such as visits to the doctor (Medicare Part B). Original Medicare does not include prescription drug coverage, so you’ll have to enroll into a separate prescription drug plan. You can add a Medicare Supplement Insurance plan (Medigap) to Original Medicare to reduce the cost of co-pays and deductibles for Medicare-covered expenses.

The other choice is a Medicare Advantage Plan, which is offered by private insurance companies that are approved by Medicare. These plans are required to offer at least the same benefits as Medicare Parts A and B, and may include additional benefits, such as routine vision or dental benefits, or prescription drug coverage.

  • Medicare Part A (Hospital Insurance) typically is free for anyone who has worked at least 10 years (or 40 quarters) and paid Medicare payroll taxes.
  • Medicare Part B (Medical Insurance) has a monthly premium. If your loved one is receiving Social Security or Railroad Retirement Board benefits, the Medicare Part B premium is automatically deducted from your benefits payment. Even people who have a Medicare Advantage Plan pay the Medicare Part B premium plus whatever the premium is for a Medicare Supplement Insurance plan (Medigap) or Medicare Advantage plan. Additionally, with Original Medicare, you’ll need to help your loved one select a prescription drug plan, which has an additional cost.

While all of this is may sound confusing, you as a Union Plus member have a trusted resource to help determine what plan is best to fit you or your loved one’s health care needs.

Union Plus has teamed up with eHealth which is a company that has been assisting people in finding the right Medicare solution since 1997. They have an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau (BBB) and have licensed insurance agents available to walk you and your loved one through your options and costs. 

Because eHealth works with many insurance companies across the country and use licensed insurance agents, you can rest assured that they will present unbiased options to help in your decision making.

Medicare Fall Open Enrollment is happening October 15-December 7. It is the perfect time to review the options available to your parents or loved ones to determine whether or not it is time to change. This service is free to Union Plus members with no obligation to enroll.

Call 888-719-0689 (TTY 711) to speak with a licensed insurance advisor.

Monday to Friday from 8am-8pm EST

Check out options online
using a plan comparison tool

Retiree Health Insurance

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Get Plan Recommendations is a non-government website operated by eHealthInsurance Services, Inc., a licensed health insurance agency that sells Medicare products. In NY and OK, we do business as eHealthinsurance Agency.