WellesleyWeston Magazine

FALL 2018

Launched in 2005, WellesleyWeston Magazine is a quarterly publication tailored to Wellesley and Weston residents and edited to enrich the experience of living in two of Massachusetts' most desirable communities.

Issue link: https://wellesleywestonmagazine.epubxp.com/i/1011917

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Page 119 of 207

P H O T O P L A Y ( P D I ) The second thing to know is that you sign up for Medicare through Social Security. You can do so online if you're in your initial enrollment period — that is, when you turn 65. But if you retire later, you have to make an appointment at a local Social Security office to show a form verifying that you had employer coverage. The third thing to know is that Medicare doesn't pay the full cost of health care fees. Part A, which covers hospitalization, has a $1,340 de- ductible that can be incurred more than once a year. Part B, which cov- ers medical visits and outpatient care, pays 80 percent of the bill after you've met a $183 annual deductible (some preventative services are its patchwork system of deadlines and penalties — has an amazing way of making even the brightest people feel like dim bulbs. "Most of the people whom I see are used to understanding things," said Andrea Levinson, who was a SHINE counselor in Weston for seven years. "They come upon Medicare and find it confusing. At a certain age, you can't help but wonder if you are losing it. But the fact is that Medicare is very confusing to anybody, no matter what age." Besides saving people money, one of the greatest pleasures of being a counselor is hearing people say, "Wow, you made it so easy," said Gerry Reilly, a SHINE counselor in Wellesley for nine years. This author became a SHINE counselor last year, after taking a five-week course, followed by a test and a stint with a mentor. Still, every week there is something new to learn — and information to pass on — about Medicare. Medicare 101 The first thing to know about Medicare is that you can't depend on the government to notify you when to sign up. Missing the initial deadline can be costly. Medicare charges a penalty if you fail to sign up within a seven-month period, with your birthday month falling in the middle, or if you fail to sign up within eight months of your or your spouse's retire- ment from a job that provided employee coverage. And just to make things even more complicated: If your company has fewer than 100 workers, ask your employer whether you need to enroll in Medicare to retain your group health plan. The first thing to know about Medicare is that you can't depend on the government to notify you when to sign up. 118 Baffled by Medicare? W e l l e s l e y W e s t o n M a g a z i n e | f a l l 2 0 1 8

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