Everything You Need to Know About Medicare

Part A, Part B, Part C … It’s important to know all the facts!

July 5, 2024
Story by Site Staff
Patients learn about Medicare options during an introductory class.
Patients learn about Medicare options during an introductory class.
PHOTO VIA GETTY IMAGES

If you or a loved one is approaching age 65, the crucial step of signing up for Medicare awaits. As healthcare costs increase and medical needs become more pressing with age, enrolling in Medicare is more than a choice — it is essential to secure comprehensive coverage. Failure to do so can have significant financial and medical ramifications.

Medicare is the federal health insurance program, primarily for people aged 65 and older, providing essential coverage for hospital stays, medical services like doctor visits, and prescription drug costs. (These are Part A, Part B, and Part D coverages, respectively, under Medicare.) Signing up for Medicare at age 65 is an important financial decision because delaying enrollment can result in late penalties, leading to higher premiums for your medical and prescription drug coverage. These penalties accrue at a rate of 10 percent for each 12-month period you are eligible for Medicare but do not enroll.

Delaying Medicare enrollment might also mean going without critical healthcare coverage at a time when medical needs often increase. Accidents or the onset of a health condition can occur at any moment, leaving us vulnerable if we lack adequate insurance coverage. By promptly enrolling in Medicare upon eligibility, you can safeguard your health and finances against unexpected medical expenses.

However, simply enrolling in traditional, Fee-for-Service Medicare (Parts A and B) may not be the optimal choice for everyone. Medicare Advantage plans (also known as Part C) offer an alternative that combines the benefits of Parts A and B while often including additional coverage such as dental, vision, and prescription drugs. This comprehensive coverage can provide peace of mind and potentially lower out-of-pocket costs compared to traditional Medicare.

Dr. Erik Palmer

Dr. Erik Palmer. 
PHOTO COURTESY DR. ERIK PALMER

One of the key values of Medicare Advantage plans is the ability they provide for coordinated care through local medical groups such as Desert Oasis Healthcare (DOHC). Medicare Advantage plans offered through DOHC provide a primary care physician supported by an entire care team of healthcare professionals, a network of local hospitals, and more to streamline coordination of care. Many Medicare patients find this leads to more integrated and personalized healthcare experiences.

Additionally, many Medicare Advantage plans offered through DOHC offer extra benefits not covered by traditional Medicare. These might include transportation to care appointments, telehealth services, prescription drug coverage, and fitness programs like gym memberships. These added benefits can enhance overall wellness and contribute to better health outcomes.

If you or a loved one is approaching age 65 or may be planning to reevaluate existing Medicare coverage during the Medicare Annual Enrollment Period — Oct. 15 through Dec. 7 each year — it’s essential to weigh the possible perks of Medicare Advantage instead of traditional, Fee-for-Service Medicare.

Everyone’s situation is different, so getting advice from your neighbor or a family member about this important decision is not advisable. Your needs and preferences are likely to be different from the well-intended advice they might offer based on what they have found best for themselves. You will want to consider factors like your personal budget, health status, prescription drug needs, and providers within the DOHC network — like Dr. Erik Palmer and Desert Family Medical Center. All these factors should be taken into consideration when making the important Medicare decision.

You don’t have to navigate the Medicare decision on your own. Visit MyDOHC.com for more information, including no-cost, no-obligation Medicare seminars offered year-round. Take the time to understand your options so that you can make your most informed decision about your healthcare coverage as you age with Medicare.

Signing up at age 65 is a vital step in securing healthcare coverage for your future.

Desert Family Medical Center

555 E. Tachevah Drive, Ste. 2W-203
Palm Springs, CA 92262
760-323-4272

desertfamilymed.com

Desert Oasis Healthcare

275 N. El Cielo Road
Palm Springs, CA 92262
760-325-DOHC (3642)

mydohc.com