Darcie Guerin, V.P. of the Marco Island Raymond James office and her Client Assistant usually work with clients planning for financial stability before and after their retirement. Sometime ago they were talking about other challenges facing those they service and the idea of a seminar to make the issues regarding Medicare easier to understand was one which they thought would interest islanders.
They reached out to Chris Cronin from Transamerica in Fort Myers, who works with other Raymond James affiliates. His company works to help individuals and families to understand the close relationship between protecting your physical health, along with financial security and the importance of maintaining them both.
The one-hour event, which included a light lunch, was held at the Marco Island Historical Society’s Rose Auditorium earlier this month. There, an intimate group assembled to hear Chris Cronin’s attempt to take the fear out of dealing with the subject of Medicare. He walked participants through his presentation and answered their questions.
The federal health insurance program began in 1965 and today has 57 million subscribers. It doesn’t pay all costs, but allows one to budget for their health care expenses as they move into retirement and lose employer plans they were enrolled in during the time they were employed.
Cronin explained that there are optional co-pay plans that may be purchased to supplement the standard coverages, in addition to plans that will help deal with drug costs. All of this may seem a little confusing to those that first have to wade through the many choices they may have, but Cronin assured those assembled that there were professionals, such as himself, that could assist them.
Some of the questions on the minds of attendees dealt with the age-old question of, “When do I have to sign up?” The answer was simple: Regardless of when you sign up for Social Security benefits, you must sign up for Medicare 90 days before or 90 days after you turn 65 (unless you have special circumstances). Failure to do so may cause you to pay higher premiums later in life if you miss that initial window, regardless of whether you activate those benefits.
After you have signed up for your coverage, each year between October 15 and December 7 you may make adjustments to your plans, or keep the same coverage you have. It is important that you take the time to review any of the potential cost savings that might be brought forward each year based upon your existing coverage and those of new improved plans.
Other Items touched upon include the infamous “donut hole,” which will impact those in a “defined benefit plan,” under Medicare Part D, if you have a coverage gap under your plan. (Medicare Part D is an optional coverage you may choose to help with drug costs.)
You need to be checking with your insurance provider for ways to help minimize your impact from that when it is time to either initially sign up or during the Open Enrollment Period between October 15 and December 7 each year.
“All of this can be very confusing and any additional information we have, even if we are already enrolled will make us better informed for future changes as each year goes by,” said Pat Hagedorn, who attended the event.
The offices of Raymond James on Marco Island can be reached by simply calling 239-389-1041 for any of your financial needs, or for contact information for Chris Cronin at Transamerica.