Many aging Baby Boomers seem dazed and confused about Medicare. The National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) surveyed 377 citizens born between 1946 and 1964 across the country to find less than half knew Medicare eligibility begins at 65 years for those who are not disabled. More than half of the Baby Boomers surveyed were unfamiliar with Medicare prescription drug coverage, even though Medicare Part D is now in its ninth year.
“Becoming eligible for Medicare provides prospective retirees with clarity and certainty about their future health insurance coverage,” says Arthur Carlos, President and CEO of Symphonix Health, a national health insurer company specializing in Medicare Part D. However, newly eligible retirees face a host of questions about whether to enroll in original Medicare or a Medicare Advantage plan, what Part D plan should they select, and whether they should purchase Medicare supplement coverage.”
“Increases annually in Part D enrollment are a sign of confidence in the Medicare program and the value the members receive from Part D plan sponsors,” explains Carlos. “Part D beneficiaries value broad coverage available from plan sponsors and appreciate the opportunity to review plan options annually during the annual enrollment period. The Part D program is well regarded by Part D beneficiaries and has significantly improved prescription drug coverage for seniors, especially low income beneficiaries.”
When shopping for plans, aging Baby Boomers can access the government’s online Medicare comparison tool. However, a recent report from the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation cited few seniors could decipher the information and needed it to be translated by others — from family and friends to doctors and pharmacists or insurance agents and plan representatives.
As Medicare enrollment booms, those in their early sixties should start learning about their options now.
There are a wealth of resources and information available to prospective retirees about the Medicare program including eligibility, plan design, and monthly premiums. It is important Baby Boomers start their personal education process about Medicare coverage several years prior to their expected retirement so they make the best choices for future coverage.