Help finding health care coverage options as we age

Whether you’re helping a parent or needing it yourself, health care as you age is a topic we get a lot of questions about. We want to help you navigate the world of Medicare. Here are some of the top questions we get about Medicare along with helpful answers.

Do you really need the extra Medicare advantage plans you see on TV commercials?

When you turn 65, you are eligible for Medicare, the federal health insurance program. Not only is it eligible, most people need to sign up for it.

Ask: All those celebrity ads offering Medicare advantage plans are running now. Some of you want to know how they are different from standard Medicare. Do you really need it?

Answer: The Houston Galveston Area Agency on Aging helps seniors navigate these plans. Benefits expert Alex Richan says that by law these benefit plans must cover everything Medicare covers, but you really need to dig in and know what you’re signing up for.


“They may offer some extra bells and whistles, like medical transportation, some dental, some vision, some hearing, we always recommend that,” Richan explains. “Read the fine print and check with your providers before you sign up to make sure they’re in network to keep your costs down.”

Ask: What about related services like the savings program?

Sometimes your health care provider will offer to fill out paperwork for other health-related services, like the Medicare Savings Program. KPRC2 viewer Martha asked about this. She is worried about giving out her personal information and wonders if this could be a scam.

(© Eugenio Marongiu)

Answer: Richan says that if you qualify, there are different levels of assistance you may qualify for with the savings program. If you don’t feel comfortable letting your health care provider apply for you, you can always get the forms online and do it yourself.

Benefits counselors from the Area Agency on Aging can guide you through the entire process, and that service is free. You can call 1-800-437-7396 or ask for help on the H-GAC Area Agency on Aging website.


Other helpful links on Medicare topics

(Copyright 2021 by KPRC Click2Houston – All Rights Reserved).

You can listen to our full Medicare interview on episode 7 of my Ask Amy podcast. You’ll learn about the different types of Medicare plans offered and what you need to know for the next open enrollment period.

Have an idea for a consumer podcast topic? What would you like to know more about? Email [email protected]!

Copyright 2022 by KPRC Click2Houston – All Rights Reserved.

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