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Medicare For Dummies, 2nd Edition

Book Description

Make your way through the Medicare maze with help from For Dummies

America's baby boomers are now turning 65 at the rate of about 10,000 a day. Yet very few have any idea about how Medicare works, when they should sign up, or how the program fits in with other health insurance they may have. Medicare For Dummies, 2nd Edition provides a detailed road map for navigating Medicare's often-baffling complexities and helps consumers avoid pitfalls that could otherwise cost them dearly.

In plain language, the new edition explains:

  • How to qualify for Medicare, according to your personal circumstances, including new information on the rights of people in same-sex marriages

  • When to sign up at the time that's right for you, to avoid lifelong late penalties

  • How to weigh Medicare's many options so you can be confident of making the decision that's best for you

  • What Medicare covers and what you pay, with up-to-date details of the costs of premiums, deductibles, and copays—and how you may be able to reduce those expenses

  • By conveying not only the basics but also how to troubleshoot problems and where to find assistance, Medicare For Dummies, 2nd Edition helps you to get the most out of Medicare.

    Table of Contents

      1. Cover
      2. Introduction
        1. About This Book
        2. Foolish Assumptions
        3. Icons Used in This Book
        4. Beyond the Book
        5. Where to Go from Here
      3. Part I: Getting Started with Medicare
        1. Chapter 1: The Nuts and Bolts of Medicare: What It Is and How It Works
          1. Addressing Some Upfront Questions
          2. Coming to Terms with the ABCs (and D) of Medicare
          3. Recognizing That You Have Choices and Must Make Timely Decisions
        2. Chapter 2: Spelling Out What Medicare Covers (A Lot, but Not Everything)
          1. Understanding What Part A and Part B Cover
          2. Knowing What Part D Covers
          3. The Gaps: Discovering What Medicare Doesn’t Cover
          4. Distinguishing When Coverage Comes with Limits
        3. Chapter 3: Understanding What You Pay Toward Your Costs in Medicare
          1. Boning Up on Premiums, Deductibles, and Co-payments
          2. Paying Higher-Income Premiums
          3. Paying Medicare Taxes While Receiving Medicare Benefits
        4. Chapter 4: Reducing Your Out-of-Pocket Expenses in Medicare
          1. Purchasing Medigap Insurance
          2. Qualifying for Help from Your State
          3. Examining Whether Extra Help Can Lower Your Drug Costs
          4. Considering Other Ways to Cut Costs
      4. Part II: The Hows and Whens of Medicare
        1. Chapter 5: Qualifying for Medicare
          1. Hitting the Milestone of Age 65
          2. Qualifying for Medicare under Age 65 on the Basis of Disability
          3. Falling through the Cracks: Health Care Options if You Can’t Get Medicare Yet
        2. Chapter 6: Enrolling in Medicare at the Right Time for You
          1. At a Glance: Surveying Situations That Affect Enrollment Timing
          2. Understanding Your Initial Enrollment Period
          3. Delaying Part B if You’ll Qualify for a Special Enrollment Period Later
          4. Enrolling in Other Specific Situations
          5. Deciding Whether and When to Sign Up for Part D Drug Coverage
          6. Understanding the Consequences of Not Signing Up at the Right Time
        3. Chapter 7: Discovering How to Sign Up for Medicare
          1. Being Automatically Enrolled in Medicare Parts A and B
          2. Sign Me Up! Applying for Medicare Parts A and B
          3. Opting Out of or Disenrolling from Part A or Part B
          4. Untangling Enrollment Periods: Knowing When Your Coverage Begins
        4. Chapter 8: Understanding How Medicare Fits In with Other Health Insurance
          1. Understanding Medicare’s Coordination of Benefits System
          2. Seeing How Medicare Works with an Employer’s Health Insurance Plan
          3. Figuring Out How Other Federal Health Benefits Fit In with Medicare
          4. Mixing Medicare with Workers’ Comp or No-Fault or Liability Insurance
      5. Part III: Making Smart Choices among Medicare’s Many Options
        1. Chapter 9: Making Sense of Medicare’s Many Options
          1. Seeing the Big Picture: Your Starting Point to Navigating the Medicare Maze
          2. Digging into the Details of Traditional Medicare versus Medicare Advantage
          3. Discovering How Medigap Policies Differ from Medicare Advantage Plans
        2. Chapter 10: Choosing Wisely If You Go with Traditional Medicare
          1. Understanding the Need to Compare Part D Plans Carefully
          2. Picking the Part D Plan That’s Best for You
          3. Picking the Medigap Supplemental Policy that’s Best for You
        3. Chapter 11: Making Smart Choices If You Opt for Medicare Advantage
          1. Comparing Medicare Advantage Plans
          2. Choosing the Medicare Advantage Plan That’s Right for You
        4. Chapter 12: Getting Help in Making Medicare Choices
          1. One on One: Getting Personal Help on Medicare Issues
          2. Buyer Beware! Avoiding Scams and Hard-Sell Marketing
      6. Part IV: Navigating Medicare from the Inside
        1. Chapter 13: Starting Out as a New Medicare Beneficiary
          1. Playing Your Cards Right
          2. Beyond the Cards: Checking Out the Extent and Limits of Your Coverage
          3. Managing Premiums
          4. Keeping Track of Your Expenses
          5. Dealing with Doctors
          6. Filling Prescriptions for the First Time with a Part D Plan
        2. Chapter 14: Getting the Inside Scoop on Using Certain Medicare Benefits
          1. Taking a Closer Look at Part A
          2. Zooming In on Part B
          3. Delving into Part D
        3. Chapter 15: Changing Your Medicare and Medigap Coverage
          1. Switching Coverage during Open Enrollment or Disenrollment
          2. Taking Advantage of Special Enrollment Periods
          3. Dropping a Plan (Or Being Dropped)
          4. Deciding Whether to Stay or Switch to Another Plan for Next Year
          5. Changing to Another Medigap Policy
        4. Chapter 16: Knowing Your Rights
          1. Understanding Your Right to Accurate Information
          2. Asking for an Investigation
          3. Taking Steps toward an Appeal
          4. Filing a Formal Appeal
      7. Part V: The Part of Tens
        1. Chapter 17: Ten Proposed Changes to Medicare You Should Know About
          1. Changing the Structure of Medicare
          2. Raising the Age of Eligibility to 67
          3. Increasing the Medicare Payroll Tax
          4. Raising Premiums for Parts B and D
          5. Redesigning Co-pays and Deductibles
          6. Adding Co-pays for Some Services
          7. Making Medigap More Expensive
          8. Changing Ways to Pay Doctors
          9. Getting a Better Deal from Drug Makers
          10. Reining in Health Care Costs Generally
        2. Chapter 18: Ten Ways to Stay Healthier Beyond Age 65
          1. Taking Action to Avoid Falls
          2. Exercising Regularly
          3. Quitting Smoking
          4. Eating Healthfully
          5. Cutting Out Soft Drinks and Extra Sugar
          6. Keeping an Eye on Prescription Drugs
          7. Continuing to Work or Stay Active
          8. Staying Connected and Engaged
          9. Keeping Your Brain in Shape
          10. Addressing Tough Choices before They’re Necessary
      8. Part VI: Appendixes
        1. Appendix A: Sources of Help and Information
          1. Government Help Lines and Websites
          2. Independent Sources of Direct Help
          3. Resources for Saving Money
          4. Consumer Information and Advocacy Organizations
          5. Sources for Updates on Medicare
        2. Appendix B: Glossary
      9. About the Author
      10. Cheat Sheet
      11. Connect with Dummies
      12. End User License Agreement