Social Security And Medicare Basics
For most of us, Social Security is the bedrock of retirement income. And Medicare is likely to be your primary source of health coverage. But when can you claim Social Security? And exactly what is Medicare? Understanding how and when to start taking advantage of these programs can help you maximize your benefitsand positively impact your retirement lifestyle.
Though the two programs are separate, Social Security works closely with Medicare to enroll people who are 65 and older, provide information and collect premiums.
Social Security Information You Can See Online
When you sign in to your online account, you’ll be able to view your Social Security statements. If you don’t yet receive benefits, you’ll see an estimate of the amount you could receive when you do retire.
There’s a table that shows your monthly benefit amounts if you retire — for instance, if you were born in 1960 or later, your chart may show retirement at 62 years old , 67 years old and 70 years old . Note that these retirement ages may change in the future. The longer you wait to retire, the more money you could receive per month.
You can also see your eligibility and earnings information. If you’ve worked at least 10 years, you’ll have enough work credits — you need 40 — to receive benefits. If you click on Review your Earnings Record, you’ll see your taxed Social Security and Medicare earnings for each year you worked.
Your Plan Could Change Its Premiums
The official U.S. government website for Medicare reports that, even though private insurers must follow Medicares rules for coverage in their Medicare Advantage plans, they each individually set the fees they charge for premiums, deductibles, and services.
Each private insurer offering Medicare Advantage plans can alter the fees associated with their plans once a year. This means that your plan could offer a reduction in your Part B costs one year, and then change it the next.
These changes can only take place once a year, on January 1. Be sure to review any alterations to your plan after this date.
You May Like: Social Security Disability Spousal Benefits
If You Have A Qualifying Disability You May Be Eligible Earlier Than Age 65
We independently research, test, review, and recommend the bestproductslearn more about our process. If you buy something through our links, we may earn a commission.
We recommend the best products through an independent review process, and advertisers do not influence our picks. We may receive compensation if you visit partners we recommend. Read our advertiser disclosure for more info.
When you think of Medicare, you probably assume its for retirees. And thats true. The standard age of eligibility is 65. But the program also covers people with disabilities and those with end-stage renal disease and ALS .
You May Like: Best Employee Perks And Benefits
Questions & Answers About Smp
What do I do if I have been scammed?If you have detected suspicious or erroneous activity on your Medicare Summary Notice or Part D Explanation of Benefits, you should contact your provider or plan. If you are not comfortable calling your provider or plan or you are not satisfied with the response you get, call your local Arizona SMP Helpline at 1-800-432-4040.
How do SMPs prevent health care fraud?SMPs conduct outreach in their communities by presenting to groups, hosting exhibits and community events, providing one-on-one counseling, and answering calls to the SMP help lines. SMP volunteers also help Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries who are unable to address fraud by themselves, and, if necessary, SMPs will refer beneficiaries to outside organizations that can investigate.
How can I protect myself against Medicare fraud?Protect your personal information. Dont give sensitive information to someone you dont know. Your Social Security, Medicare, and bank account numbers can be used to defraud you. You also should avoid sending personal information on the phone or over an unsecure Internet connection. Never purchase items from a website that youve found from and e-mail link. If you know the name of an organization you want to do business with, go to the website on your own.
How can I detect fraud and identify errors?Here are a few simple steps you can take to detect possible fraud.
Don’t Miss: What Are Common Employee Benefits
Is Medicare Brace A Scam
If someone calls and says theyre from Medicare and offers you a free or low cost brace, hang up. No one from Medicare will call you with such an offer. Its a scam. The FTC advises refusing medical equipment that is mailed to you unless your doctor ordered it. Dont pay for anything you didnt order.
When Do I Use My Medicare Cards
Everyone who enrolls in Medicare receives a red, white, and blue Medicare card. This card lists your name and the dates that your Original Medicare hospital insurance and medical insurance began. It will also show your Medicare number, which serves as an identification number in the Medicare system.
If you have Original Medicare, make sure you always bring this card with you when you visit doctors and hospitals so that they can submit bills to Medicare for payment. If you have a supplemental insurance plan, like a Medicare Supplement Plan, retiree, or union plan, make sure to show that plans card to your doctor or hospital, too, so that they can bill the plan for your out-of-pocket costs.
Note: Medicare has finished mailing new Medicare cards to all beneficiaries. You can still use your old card to get your care covered until January 1, 2020. However, if you have not received your new card, you should call 1-800-MEDICARE and speak to a representative.
If you are enrolled in a Part D plan , you will use the Part D plans card at the pharmacy.
Remember: Do not give your Medicare or Social Security numbers or personal data to strangers. Medicare will never ask for this information over the phone. If you believe you have been the target of Medicare marketing or billing fraud, contact your local Senior Medicare Patrol.
Also Check: First Time Home Owner Tax Benefits
Covered California And Medicare
Transitioning from Covered California to Medicare is an important step. Make sure you take action and keep track of important dates and deadlines to avoid unwanted consequences.
In general, people who are eligible for Medicare even if they do not enroll in it arent eligible to receive financial help to lower the cost of a Covered California health plan.
People who are eligible for Medicare must report their Medicare eligibility to Covered California within 30 days and will usually need to cancel their Covered California. Your Covered California plan wont be automatically canceled when you become eligible for Medicare, even if you enroll in a Medicare plan with the same insurance company. You must cancel your plan yourself at least 14 days before you want your coverage to end by contacting Covered California.
If you are eligible for Medicare and you keep your Covered California plan, you may face serious consequences. For example:
- You may have to pay back all or some of your premium tax credits to the Internal Revenue Service .
- Or, there could be a delay in your Medicare coverage start date. If you dont sign up for Medicare Part B during your initial enrollment period, you will have to wait for the general open enrollment period , and then your coverage wouldnt begin until July of that year.
- In addition, you may have to pay lifetime penalties for late enrollment in Medicare and your premiums may increase by 10 percent or more.
Facts About The Medicare Give Back Benefit
If youre looking to maximize your savings while on Medicare, you may be wondering, what is the Medicare give back benefit? This benefit is not an official Medicare program, but rather a colloquial name for a Medicare Part B premium reduction included in some Medicare Advantage plans. Whether you receive this reduction depends on the conditions of the plan that you choose and a few other factors. Read on for three facts about this benefit.
You May Like: How Much Tax Is Owed On Unemployment Benefits
When Can I Enroll In A New Gomedicare Benefits Plan
For most people, Medicare Part A, Part B, Part C, or Part D can be enrolled for seven months, beginning three months before their 65th birthday, the month of their 65th birthday, and nine months after they turn 65.
Particular Enrollment Period â You may qualify based on certain life events, such as B. Change or loss of current coverage. Depending on your situation, you usually have two full months to register.
GoMedicare Part C & D Annual Enrollment Period October 15 to December 7 of each year. Current Medicare beneficiaries can use this time to review and modify their Medicare Advantage and Medicare Prescription Drug plans. You cannot use the AEP to register for Part A or Part B for the first time. Insurance coverage takes effect on January 1 of the following year.
Medicare General Enrollment Period Every year, from January 1 to March 31. While most people receive Part B when they apply for Medicare at www.gomedicare.com, this time is reserved for those who did not apply for Part B when they first qualified. Insurance coverage begins on July 1 of the same year.
Create A My Social Security Account
To see all of your Social Security benefits online, you’ll first need to create a My Social Security account. Here’s what to do.
1. Go to ssa.gov on your browser and click Learn about my account next to my Social Security account.
2. Next, click Create an Account.
3. You’ll be prompted to sign in with your ID.me account or login.gov account unless you created an account before Sept. 18, 2021. Note that you’ll need to create one of those accounts if you don’t have one.
4. Once you have an account, you’ll need to agree to the terms of service to continue.
5. Next, you’ll need to verify your identity. The Social Security Administration will send a one-time security code to your email that you’ll need to enter within 10 minutes to continue to your account.
You should now have access to all of your Social Security statements and other details online.
Read Also: What Are Part C Medicare Benefits
Choosing Plans To Benefit You The Most
Many Decisions to make for Expanded Coverage in your Medicare Advantage Plan. Recommend that you consider talking to a broker or consultant to go through every detail with you before you commit to enabling the best coverage for the money and peace of mind for you and your family.
Find a list of Medicare Advantage Plans that are in your coverage area.
Choosing the Best Type of Plan
- Special Needs Plans
Unitedhealthcare Connected General Benefit Disclaimer
This is not a complete list. The benefit information is a brief summary, not a complete description of benefits. For more information contact the plan or read the Member Handbook. Limitations, copays and restrictions may apply. For more information, call UnitedHealthcare Connected® Member Services or read the UnitedHealthcare Connected® Member Handbook. Benefits, List of Covered Drugs, pharmacy and provider networks and/or copayments may change from time to time throughout the year and on January 1 of each year.
You can get this document for free in other formats, such as large print, braille, or audio. Call Member Services, 8 a.m. 8 p.m., local time, Monday Friday . The call is free.
You can call Member Services and ask us to make a note in our system that you would like materials in Spanish, large print, braille, or audio now and in the future.
Language Line is available for all in-network providers.
Puede obtener este documento de forma gratuita en otros formatos, como letra de imprenta grande, braille o audio. Llame al Servicios para los miembros, de 08:00 a. m. a 08:00 p. m., hora local, de lunes a viernes correo de voz disponible las 24 horas del día,/los 7 días de la semana). La llamada es gratuita.
Puede llamar a Servicios para Miembros y pedirnos que registremos en nuestro sistema que le gustaría recibir documentos en español, en letra de imprenta grande, braille o audio, ahora y en el futuro.
You May Like: What Is Social Security Retirement Benefits
Don’t Miss: How Do Social Security Benefits Work
Best For Member Satisfaction: Kaiser Permanente
Average Medicare star rating: 5 out of 5.
Service area: Available in eight states and Washington, D.C.
Standout feature: Kaiser stands head-and-shoulders above other providers in terms of the companys Medicare star ratings, and the company tops a list of nine providers for member satisfaction.
Kaiser Permanente is the fifth-largest provider of Medicare Advantage plans, with about 1.8 million members enrolled in 2022. Kaiser is also the largest not-for-profit health maintenance organization in the U.S., and the company uses an integrated care model, which means members can get all their care in one place and all their providers are connected. Kaiser plans are available in only eight states and Washington, D.C.
Kaiser Permanente earned 846 points out of 1,000 in J.D. Powers 2021 U.S. Medicare Advantage Study, netting it the top spot for customer satisfaction out of nine providers measured.
Only seven Medicare health plans received a 5 out of 5 rating from the National Committee for Quality Assurance, and four of them are Kaiser Permanente plans.
Kaiser Permanente plans are available only in eight states and Washington, D.C., so the majority of U.S. adults cant access them.
Kaiser offers only HMO plans, so members must work within Kaisers network of medical providers.
What Is Medicare Part D Donut Hole
The Medicare Part D coverage pays for prescription drug costs for eligible citizens that are enrolled in Medicare. The Medicare Part D Donut Hole refers to a coverage gap or temporary limit on what the plan covers for drug prescriptions. This gap begins after you and your drug plan has spent a particular amount for covered medication.
In 2022, the coverage gap or limit begins once you and your plan have spent up to $4,430 on covered drugs. This implies that if your annual drug spendings exceed the limit, you may find yourself in the Medicare donut hole.
Also Check: First Time Home Owner Tax Benefits
Social Security Cola Increase: Here’s When You’ll Get Your 87% Hike
Social Security recipients will soon receive their biggest benefit hike since 1981, with the pension program set to deliver an 8.7% cost-of-living increase in 2023.
The annual cost-of-living adjustment, or COLA, takes effect with the December benefits, but those payments will reach most recipients in January 2023, according to the Social Security Administration. With the increase, the average benefit check will rise more than $140 to $1,827 a month, compared with the typical benefit of $1,681 in 2022.
The Social Security Administration adjusts payments annually based on the inflation rate, which this year has spiked to its highest levels in four decades. Seniors lost purchasing power during this year since the 5.9% they received in 2022 is well below this year’s rise in prices overall, the average Social Security benefit fell short of inflation by more than $500 this year, according to a calculation by the advocacy group the Senior Citizens League.
As a result, 4 in 10 seniors said they drained their emergency savings to stay afloat this year, the group said.
She added, “We have just been through a period where retirees are trying to cope and manage, and they have never been through anything like this before.”
Beware Of Identity Theft When Looking At Your Medicare Coverage Choices
Remember to Guard your Cardkeeping your ID card and personal information secure at all times is very important:
- No one should call you or come to your home uninvited to sell Medicare products.
- Medicare plans cannot ask you for credit card or banking information over the telephone unless you are already a member of that plan.
- In most cases, Medicare cant call you to enroll in a planyou must call them.
- Only give your information to doctors or other providers YOU KNOW, plans contracted by Medicare, and to people in the community who work with Medicare, such as your State Health Insurance Program or Social Security.
If you think youve been a victim of identity theft or fraud and do not want to report it directly to UnitedHealthcare, you can also call any of these numbers/agencies below:
For more information, request the guide titled Protecting Medicare and You from Fraud by calling toll-free 1-800-MEDICARE . TTY/TDD users should call toll-free 1-877-486-2048. A customer service representative can answer your questions 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Read Also: What Employee Benefits Are Required By Law
You May Like: What Age Social Security Benefits
How Do I Get Out Of The Donut Hole
To leave the donut hole in 2023, your out-of-pocket spending will be up to $7,400. The eligible expenses include amounts you pay towards your deductible, generic and brand-name drugs, co-payments, and co-insurance. Note that your Medicare Part D premiums and pharmacy dispensing fees do not count toward closing the donut hole.https://www.medicare.gov/drug-coverage-part-d/costs-for-medicare-drug-coverage/costs-in-the-coverage-gap
Social Security Benefits: Payment Dates
The January check next year will be based on recipients’ birth dates, according to the Social Security Administration.
- People who claimed Social Security before May 1997 or who receive both Social Security and Supplemental Security Income will receive their Social Security payment on January 3.
- People who receive SSI will get their first 2023 payment on December 30 of this year. That is because these benefits are usually paid on the 1st of each month, but due to January 1 being a holiday and December 31 falling on a Saturday, the Social Security Administration said it will issue these checks two days earlier than usual.
- For people whose birthday falls between the 1st to 10th of any month, their Social Security payments arrive on the second Wednesday of the month. That means the first check with the 2023 COLA will land on January 11.
- Those with birthdays that fall between the 11th to 20th of any month will have their payments deposited or mailed on the third Wednesday of each month. Their first check with the enhanced COLA will arrive on January 18.
- If a recipient’s birthday falls between the 21st and 31st, their payments are scheduled for the fourth Wednesday of each month. Their first 2023 COLA will arrive on January 25.