In some cases, getting Medicare for your parents becomes a responsibility you didn’t expect. Medicare insurance is for those 65 years or older. Some people may be eligible due to qualifying disabilities.

Once you’ve determined that your parents are eligible for Medicare, it’s time to learn the basics. After you understand the basics of Medicare, we’ll tell you how to sign up, find additional health insurance, and use your Medicare insurance.

By following the steps outlined in this content, you can navigate Medicare for your parents easily.

How Can I Get Medicare for My Parents

The first step to getting Medicare insurance for your parents is understanding the Original Medicare coverage basics. For example, Medicare Part A covers inpatient care and Part B covers outpatient care.

Traditional Medicare doesn’t cover everything. For example, Medicare won’t cover medications your doctor prescribes for you to take at home. Also, it doesn’t cover dental, vision, hearing, or most travel.

Most beneficiaries choose standalone insurance options to cover the missing benefits. Since coverage is based on individual eligibility, plans aren’t available for couples or families.

Medicare isn’t free, so costs are another important aspect to understand. While most people will qualify for premium-free Part A, Part B has a monthly premium. Also, the deductibles and coinsurance costs can increase since there isn’t a maximum out-of-pocket limit unless you have extra insurance.

Once your parents have Medicare, additional insurance is something to consider.

Using your Medicare insurance is simple. The red, white, and blue Medicare card comes in the mail with the “Welcome to Medicare” packet. Creating a secure Medicare account means access to this information and more at any time.

How to Help Your Parents Enroll in Medicare

You can help your parents sign up for Medicare online, over the phone, in person, or by mail. Those that already receive Social Security benefits will automatically be enrolled in Medicare.

Otherwise, the best time to enroll is by the 65th birthday. The Initial Enrollment Period lasts for 7 months. Beginning 3 months before the 65th birthday, the month of the birthday, and 3 months after turning 65.

Coverage starts on the first day of the birthday month or the first day of the month after you apply.

How to Understand What Your Parents’ Coverage Needs Are

Since Medicare has deductibles and coinsurances, an additional insurance plan for parents can be a cost saver. Signing up during a qualifying enrollment period is a requirement. Those newly eligible for Medicare will qualify for an Initial Enrollment Period or an Open Enrollment Period.

One coverage option is Part C which is a Medicare Advantage policy. These policies may include Part D prescription drugs, dental, vision, hearing, and more. Many of these plans boast lower premiums and the costs come from coinsurances and copays.

The Advantage plan is beneficial for those with few health issues, the ability to pay copays, and people that don’t mind a network of doctors. While the Part C plan can look appealing, it’s not always the best option.

Another popular coverage option for seniors is the Medigap plan. Medicare Supplement insurance can cover the deductibles and coinsurances you’d otherwise pay, meaning substantially lower out-of-pocket costs.

Since the medical expenses are low, the premiums tend to be higher than Part C plans. Medigap insurance is especially beneficial for those with several health issues, doctor preferences, and travel.

One of the best features of this coverage is that you can go to any doctor that accepts Medicare in the United States. Some plans even cover foreign travel emergencies.

Your parents need a separate Medicare Part D drug plan since Medigap doesn’t cover prescriptions.

Forms You Need to Help Your Parents with Medicare Coverage

The Medicare Authorization to Disclose Personal Health Information form is necessary if you speak on your parents’ behalf for their Medicare health coverage. Insurance carriers may ask for a copy of this completed form for you to speak on your parents’ behalf.

The form can be filled out online or you can contact Medicare for the information.

Do My Parents Need Medicare if they have TRICARE?

If your parents have TRICARE-for-Life, they won’t need Medicare. However, those with other types of Veterans Administration benefits could benefit from insurance such as a Medicare Advantage or Medigap plan.

Depending on the coverage available and the insurance desired, having additional insurance could be quite beneficial. Those with TRICARE-for-Life won’t need a Part C plan or a Medicare Supplement policy.

Do My Parents Need Medicare if they have Marketplace Insurance?

It’s best to sign up for Medicare as soon as eligible. Your parents can keep their marketplace insurance until Medicare begins. Then, the affordable care act insurance can be canceled without penalty.

While it’s possible to keep marketplace insurance when Medicare starts, the tax credits won’t apply to the health insurance marketplace plan. Since the tax credits don’t apply, your parents could pay the full price premium of the affordable care act plan.

Do My Parents Need Medicare if they are Still Working?

If your parents work for a small employer, less than 20 employees, they must sign up for Medicare when they become eligible. Those with a larger employer may choose to stay on the employee group policy; however, Medicare tends to be cheaper.

When your parents have Medicare, they can stop paying premiums on the current policy. Talk to the benefits administrator at the office where they work to better understand the coordination of benefits.

What if My Parents Cannot Afford Medicare?

Depending on your parents’ income, they may qualify for Medicaid, extra help, or Medigap subsidies. For many people, Part A is free and Part B premiums are based on income.

Medicaid can help lower the cost of doctor visits. Extra help can help lower prescription costs, even for those not eligible for Medicaid.

Applying for Medicaid and extra help is simple and can be done online.

FAQs

Can you add your parents to your medical insurance?

Unless your parents are your legal tax dependents, you won’t be able to add them to your medical insurance plan.

You must show that your parent is a legal tax dependent based on a recent and previous tax return. Otherwise, your parents need their own health care plan.

Which health insurance is best for elderly parents?

There’s no “best policy” because the most beneficial health plan depends on individual needs and preferences. When it comes to coverage, it includes doctor networks, prescription coverage, costs, and flexibility.

Is Medicare a private insurance company?

The federal government oversees and provides your parents with Medicare. Private companies provide additional insurance such as Part C or Medigap.

How to Get Help with Your Parents’ Medicare Insurance Coverage

Handling your parent’s health insurance plan can seem overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Our insurance agents are familiar with health plan options relating to Medicare.

Let the experts walk you through the steps of finding the best Medicare plan for your parents. The best part is that the application for coverage can take place over the phone.

So call us today. Or fill out our online rate form to get the best rates in your area.

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by Lindsay Malzone, Lindsay Malzone is the Medicare editor for Medigap.com. She's been contributing to many well-known publications since 2017. Her passion is educating Medicare beneficiaries on all their supplemental Medicare options so they can make an informed decision on their healthcare coverage.