Reaching retirement age at 65 is one of life’s key milestones and certainly a cause to celebrate! However, before the celebration starts, one of the important tasks is cutting a clear path through the Medicare Coverage confusion.
Low health literacy is one of the biggest problems when people begin considering their Medicare options. An article in The Journal of Health Communication stated "the success of health plans hinges on the engagement of their members, and that requires providing information that they can understand and act on.”
Understanding Medicare starts with getting the correct information from reliable sources. Here are some tips as you begin navigating your path.
Do not wait until you are 65 to sign up for Medicare! Waiting too long to sign up can cost you money now and have long term future financial consequences. Eligibility begins as early as 3 months before you turn 65, so start by gathering all your medical information a full year in advance.
Before you enroll at medicare.gov, seek trusted resources like those offered by Aging Matters, a nonprofit offering help for seniors at no cost. The staff at Aging Matters are knowledgeable professionals dedicated to help you find answers tailored to fit your needs. Beware of companies making fraudulent claims that could cost you money.
Gazmararian, J., Beditz, K., Pisano, S., & Carreón, R. (2010). The Development of a Health Literacy Assessment Tool for Health Plans. Journal of Health Communication, 15, 93–101. https://doi.org/10.1080/10810730.2010.499986
U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. (2020). Who is eligible for Medicare? Retrieved from: https://www.hhs.gov/answers/medicare-and-medicaid/who-is-elibible-for-medicare/index.html
Eldercare Directory. (2020). Essential resources for senior citizens and their caregivers. Retrieved from: https://www.eldercaredirectory.org/medicare.htm
Content for this segment was created by Mary Burton as part of a project for SC301: Foundations of Health Communication, taught by Dr. Clubbs. Mary served as Executive Director of the Southeast Missouri Chapter of the American Red Cross; Executive Director of SoutheastHEALTH Foundation; and Executive Director of Community Counseling Center Foundation. She is retired and working towards a degree in Health Communication.
Recorded at home with Eli Hildebrand Clubbs engineering; edited at KRCU Studios by Dan Woods.