You are like many people these days, caring for an older adult and perhaps being asked to make decisions you never expected. You need information, guidance and peace of mind. We understand what you're going through, and we're here to help.
If you have any questions about the Medicare options offered by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Montana, please contact us to talk one-on-one about your unique situation.
What to Do First
Your To-Do List
You may need to address these items to decide which type of Medicare plan is right for them. If they are still working and planning to retire, have them ask their benefits administrator whether they're eligible for Medicare benefits and learn about their options.
Gather records and information for the person you are helping.
- There are certain forms that need to be signed so you can be of assistance.
- For health insurance purposes, an Appointment of Representative form needs to be filled out.
- Speak with a trusted advisor such as your lawyer or financial planner about helping with legal and money matters.
- Find out what health insurance and prescription drug coverage they have now and when it expires.
- If they have been working, ask if a retiree plan is available.
Earnings and benefits
- Contact Social Security to confirm Medicare eligibility.
- A close look at their finances will show the budget you will be working with. Look at earnings records including bank accounts, pension, Social Security, and retirement accounts like annuities. Also consider fixed monthly costs such as mortgage, utilities, and premiums.
Current health and prescription drug needs
- Learn about their medical conditions.
- Will their prescription drug needs change in the future?
Should They Stay With Their Plan?
If they are currently enrolled in a Medicare plan, you will want to discuss if it's still the best plan or if they should switch to another plan. Use this chart to confirm their decision.
If they decide to change plans, review the enrollment periods to see when they can make the change.
Helping Someone Enroll in a Medicare Plan
Follow these steps:
Have these items handy:
- Their red, white and blue Medicare card.
- Information about any other health insurance they may have.
- Bank account information if they choose automatic payment (paper bill or Social Security deduction options also available).
Be sure they qualify for Medicare and that they live where the plan they are interested in is available. Look at the plan choices.
Make sure the following meets their needs:
- Medical coverage – find a plan that includes the right level of coverage to meet their health care needs.
- If they are enrolling in a plan that includes prescription drug coverage, check the formulary to be sure their current medications are listed. Remember, if they do not enroll in prescription drug coverage when first eligible, they may have to pay a late enrollment penalty down the road.
- Financial considerations – plans have different benefits, premiums, copays, coinsurances and deductibles. Consider these costs and how they will impact their budget.
Enroll in a plan
Enrollment takes place during specific times of the year.
Taking Care of Yourself
Caring for yourself-while caring for others-can be a challenge. Here are ways to avoid putting yourself last while being a caregiver or Medicare coach:
- Make time for yourself. It's okay to get together with friends or see the latest movie on your list.
- Ask for help. You don't have to tackle all requests by yourself. If someone else offers to help with a task, take them up on the offer.
- Spend time with family. Walking with your spouse or helping your child with homework lets them know you're there for them, too.
- Deal with stress. Keeping workouts and meditation part of your routine will help keep you strong if demands are high.
- Keep information up to date. Completing these forms now can help with planning down the road.
We're on hand to answer your caregiver questions at any time.