Navigating Medicare During The Pandemic

Navigating Medicare During The Pandemic

It’s disconcerting enough to be living in these uncertain times.  Trying to understand Medicare if you’re needing to enroll now can be even more challenging; the Social Security office is closed to appointments, the community meetings that educate you about your Medicare options are postponed for now.

I’m writing this article on April 2. I truly hope that by the time this goes to print the “shelter in place” order will be lifted. But if not, read on.

First off, insurance is considered an “essential business.” My office is open for appointments. It’s just me, I take my temperature every day, wear gloves while pumping gas and going to the grocery store and follow all recommended precautions. While it’s not necessary to meet face to face for a Medicare appointment, it certainly makes explaining your options easier with visual aids and materials created by the insurance companies that I contract with.

Phone appointments are on the uptick however, and I completely understand someone’s desire to stay home and try to navigate the waters of Medicare over the phone. It is necessary to have access to a computer to do a phone appointment successfully. My client worksheet that we normally review face to face is emailed to you for us to do over the phone. Once we narrow down what Medicare option is best for you, I email you those materials from the selected insurance provider and we review that over the phone. If you already have your Medicare ID number, I can then enroll you over the phone as well.

If you don’t have your Medicare card yet, I can send you the information to enroll yourself into Medicare online, or, if you are past 65 and needing to go onto Medicare due to losing your group insurance (or simply deciding that Medicare is a better option for you than group insurance).

If you are needing to activate your Medicare after your initial enrollment period for Medicare (cut off is the last day of the month 3 months after the month of your birthday) then there currently is a hiccup .

There’s a form that needs to be signed off on by your group insurance offering from your current/past employer in order to activate the Part B portion of Medicare to become full “Medicare beneficiary”. Typically, you would walk that form, along with another one that just you fill out, into the Social Security office nearest to you. The hiccup is that currently these offices are closed. So, that means snail mail is your option. This will add weeks to the activation process (and I’m trying to speculate positively).

So, if this scenario applies to you, don’t delay, get the ball rolling to apply for Medicare today. I’m here to help, in person or over the phone. Also, I’m happy to answer any questions you have without scheduling any type of an appointment. Feel free to call me, 7 days a week.

Stephanie Frisch

Stephanie Frisch is the owner of Insurance 101 and is an independent insurance broker dedicated to helping others make “educated decisions” about their insurance choices when it comes to Medicare, Long-Term Care Planning, The Health Insurance Marketplace-Covered California and Life Insurance. For answers to your questions, or an in-home, no-fee consultation, call (949) 351-2443.

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