Page 20 - Senior Times South Central Michigan February 2021 - 28-02
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Page 20 Senior Times - February 2021
By: Sherii Sherban, Publisher
Medicare is complicated enough but under- standing the four primary components can help make it a bit easier. Beyond that, it takes a book and a website to explain each component and fully understand what it covers and any addition- al costs. As we go forward in 2021 we will take a different look at Medicare each month. For addi- tional questions visit
When you apply for Medicare, you will auto- matically be enrolled in Part A. It covers hospital stays, hospice care, and some skilled nursing care that you may need after being hospitalized for a stroke, a broken hip, or other episodes that require rehabilitation in a nursing home or other facility so you can get back on your feet.
  Part A – Hospital Coverage
The federal government sets the Part B monthly premium, which is $148.50 for 2021. It may be higher if your income is more than $88,000.
Most Medicare Advantage plans also fold in prescription drug coverage. Not all of these plans cover the same extra benefits, so make sure to read the plan descriptions carefully.
Most people don’t have to pay a premium for Part A. You’ve already paid into the system in the form of the Medicare tax deductions on your paycheck.
This is the part of Medicare that pays for some of your prescription drugs. You buy a Part D plan through a private insurer.
However, Part A isn’t totally free.
Part C – Medicare Advantage
Each generally has premiums and other out- of-pocket costs, either flat copays for each medi- cation or a percentage of the prescription costs. It also may have an annual deductible.
Medicare charges a hefty deductible each time you are admitted to the hospital. It changes every year, but for 2021 the deductible is $1,484. You can buy a supplemental or Medigap policy to cover that deductible and some out-of-pocket costs for the other parts of Medicare.
Medicare Advantage is the private health insurance alternative to the federally run original Medicare.
If your total drug costs – the amount you and your Part D insurance plan have paid – reach $4,130 in 2021, you will be responsible for 25 percent of the price of the rest of the prescription drugs you buy during the year.
Unlike Part A, Part B involves more costs, and you may want to defer signing up for it if you are still working and have insurance through your job or are covered by your spouse’s health plan. But if you don’t have other insurance and don’t sign up for Part B when you first enroll
in Medicare, you’ll likely have to pay a higher monthly premium for as long as you’re in the program.
the rules for Medicare, has allowed Medicare Advantage plans to cover such extras as wheel- chair ramps and shower grips for your home, meal delivery, and transportation to and from doctors’ offices.
You’ll also be subject to an annual deductible, set at $203 for 2021. And you’ll have to pay 20 percent of the bills for doctor visits and other outpatient services. If you are collecting Social Security, the monthly premium will be deducted from your monthly benefit.
Part D – Prescription Drugs
Medicare Advantage plans generally are either health maintenance organizations (HMOs) or preferred provider organizations (PPOs).
 Medicare pays for virtually all hospital ser- vices for the first 60 days you’re in the hospital. There are some exceptions – it won’t pay for a private room, for example.
Think of Advantage as a kind of one-stop shopping choice that combines various parts of Medicare into one plan.
If your drug costs continue to mount, you may reach the point of qualifying for catastrophic coverage. For 2021, once you have paid $6,550 for medicines – just what you paid, not including what your Part D insurance plan paid – you’ll be responsible for five percent of the cost for each of your drugs.
 If you are a U.S. citizen or permanent resident and have not worked long enough to qualify for Medicare, you may able to buy into the program by paying a Part A premium.
If you decide on a Medicare Advantage – or MA – plan, you’ll still have to enroll in parts A and B and pay the Part B premium. Then,
in addition, you will have to choose a Medicare Advantage plan and sign up with a private insurer.
Be sure to check at whether the plan you’re considering has the medicines you take on its covered list, called a formulary. Those lists change from year to year, so it’s important to recheck your plan every year at open enroll- ment time. The next open enrollment will be from Oct. 15 to Dec. 7, 2021, and any changes you make will take effect in January 2022.
Part B – Doctor and Outpatient Services
The federal government requires these plans to cover everything that original Medicare cov- ers, and some plans pay for services that original Medicare does not, including dental and vision care. In addition, in recent years the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, which sets
This part of Medicare covers doctor visits, lab tests, diagnostic screenings, medical equipment, ambulance transportation, and other outpatient services.
Call First
   During this transitional time you may have many questions regarding what actions you should be taking, as well as how to access community resources. Be sure to call first, rather than to visit. And remember, just because an area is opening, it doesn’t mean that you have to participate until you are ready to do so.
Jackson County COVID-19 Updates
Region 3A - Kalamazoo County
Health and Community Services Dept.
Service Area: Kalamazoo County
3299 Gull Road, Nazareth, MI 49074-0042 (269) 373-5173
Center for Disease Control & Prevention
Jackson County Health Department Hotline (517) 788-4420, opt 9
Center for Family Health Hotline number for testing (517) 748-5363
Henry Ford MyCare Advice LIne (for testing) (313) 874-7500
Kalamazoo County COVID-19 Updates
AARP Resources:
AARP National Office resource page intcmp=DSO-SRCH-EWHERE
AARP Michigan COVID resource page
Free call-in for National AARP teletown halls at 1pm every Thursday 1-855-274-9507
Community Connections, Friendly Voice Program
Learn to offer fraud prevention programs online
Fraud helpline: 1-877-908-3360
Caregiving resources:
Community Resources by AAA Regions
Region 2 Area Agency on Aging
Service Area:
Counties - Jackson, Hillsdale, Lenawee 102 N. Main St.,
PO Box 189 Brooklyn, MI 49230 (517) 592-1974 or 1-800-335-7881
Other aging resources in Jackson County:
Jackson County Department On Aging
1715 Lansing Ave # 672 Jackson, MI 49202 (517) 788-4364
Other aging resources in Kalamazoo County: (800) 232-4632
Senior Services, Inc.
State of Michigan COVID page
918 Jasper Street, Kalamazoo, MI 49001 (269) 382-0515
CareWell Svs SW – Region 3B Area Agency on Aging
State COVID-19 Hotline
7 days/week, 8am-5pm, 1-888-535-6136.
Michigan Department of Health & Human Services 1-888-535-6163
Aging and Adult Service Agency for volunteering & food assistance
Long Term Care Ombudsman 1-866-485-9393
Direct link to Locator for COVID testing 0,9753,7-406-99891_99912---,00.html
Mental Health
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-888-273-8255 for 24/7 support
Mental Health American
Warmline for Michiganders mental health conditions 7 days/week, 10am-2am
Disaster Distress Helpline 888-985-5990
Summit Pointe 24-Hour Crisis 1-800-632-5449
NAMI -Calhoun County (269) 962-1762
Service Area: Counties – Barry, Calhoun 200 W. Michigan Ave. Suite 102
Battle Creek, MI 49017 (269) 966-2450
Calhoun County COVID-19 updates
Other aging resources in Branch County:
Branch County Commission On Aging
H. & C. Burnside Senior Center
65 Grahl Drive, Coldwater, MI 49036, (517) 279-6565
City of Battle Creek Updates
or 1-800-626-6719 (in-state only)
Other aging resources in Barry and Calhoun Counties:
320 W Woodlawn Ave., Hastings, MI 49058 index.php
(269) 948-4856
315 W Green St., Marshall, MI 49068 health_department/coronavirus_(covid-19).php
(269) 781-0846
200 W. Michigan Avenue,
Battle Creek, MI 49017 (269) 382-0515
Barry County Commission On Aging
 Calhoun County Senior Services
 Senior Services, Inc.
Region 3C Area Agency on Aging
Service Area: Counties – St. Joseph, Branch 570 Marshall Rd., Coldwater, MI 49036
(517) 278-2538 or 1-888-615-8009
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