Wrapping up 2020 and Planning for 2021

As we enter this holiday season, life is clearly different.  Hopefully, this article will inform and clarify some of the issues many people face at this time. 

Depression:  The Covid 19 pandemic has put us in a time period that we hope never to see again.  Businesses closed or at a minimum have altered procedures.  People losing jobs or working from home.  People with health conditions sheltering in place; many not even seeing family members.  As one of the results, many people are fighting depression.  Many insurance plans are offering virtual – online appointments, counseling, and therapy for depression.  Contact your insurance company or doctor’s office for contact information and process.

Are You Planning to Retire?  There is a process to enroll in Medicare.  People turning age 65 may enroll online through SSA.gov.  or call 1-800-772-1213.  People who only have Part A of Medicare (most commonly – people who have worked past age 65) have more of a process and forms to be completed,  If you are retiring, start 60 days before retirement to start this process,  Social Security will give you the process; or firms like ours can also assist you.

IRMAA (not the lady with the pink Cadillac) is the “Medicare Income Related Monthly Adjustment Amount”.  IRMAA is the amount you must pay in addition to your Part B premium if your income as a single was over $88,000 in 2019.  For a couple, the IRMAA begins with a 2019   income of $176,000.  To be clear IRMAA is calculated from earnings two year’s prior.  Under certain circumstances IRMAA can be refigured or perhaps reduced.  One of the Qualifying Events for a New Determination is lower income after retirement.  

Have you finished your Medicare AEP selections?  You only have until 12/7 to do so.  A word of advice – use an insurance broker specializing in Medicare Plans, they will not charge you, and they can show you options.  Many times, a person could move to another plan, saving you hundreds of dollars in the process.

ACA – Obamacare AEP ends 12/15:   If you have Obamacare, you should review your application, adjust the income on the application, if applicable, and make selections by December 15th.  Be sure your doctors are in-network and you accurately provide information for any subsidy (also called advanced tax credit) that may lower your premiums.  Some people make a snap judgment that they cannot afford ACA coverage, but considering the subsidy, they may be mistaken.  This author has worked with clients with premiums of less than $10 after the subsidy.  Again, work with local agents for personal and continuing assistance.

Plans change from year to year.  The Marketplace states they will migrate you to a plan if you do not update your enrollment and your plan was changed.  It is important that you make this decision rather than have the Marketplace make it for you.

Is it easy to see that Medicare and ACA is confusing?  It is probably best to seek local professional help.  You may wonder: what’s at stake?  It could mean the difference between being able to have non-emergency medical services or not.  It could mean bankruptcy.  Therefore, it is probably best to gather information and make an intelligent, informed decision.  Resources on agents can be found at https://nahu.org/looking-for-an-agent/find-an-agent,  and https://localhelp.healthcare.gov/#/ .

So, don’t wait; if you have questions on Medicare or ACA, feel free to contact our office at 309-693-1060 or on our website.  From our office to you and your family: Merry Christmas Happy Holidays and Stay Safe!

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