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Medicare Medical Savings Accounts (MSA) are a variation of Part C that are similar to Health Savings Account Plans that can be purchased outside of Medicare. With an MSA Plan, you can select your healthcare provider and services.
MSA Plans will provide all the coverage that Original Medicare does, in addition to other benefits such as dental, vision, and hearing coverage.
MSA Plans combine a savings account with a high deductible. Because beneficiaries must pay out-of-pocket before they reach their deductible, prices can add up. To compensate for this, Plan C will place money into your savings account that can be used to cover medical expenses. Once all the money in the account has been used, the beneficiary will be responsible for paying the rest of the amount out-of-pocket.
Here is a breakdown of how MSA Plans work:
• Once you are enrolled in the MSA Plan, you will set up an MSA with the bank that is selected by your plan.
• Medicare will give the plan a specific amount of money, which will then be deposited into the savings account.
• The money deposited can be used to pay on your deductible and medical costs, but keep in mind that the amount deposited will be less than the deductible.
• If you use all the money that was deposited into your account, you cannot deposit more. You will have to pay the rest of your medical costs out-of-pocket until you reach the deductible. However, your doctors and other providers will not charge you more than the Medicare-approved amount.
• Once your deductible is met, the plan will then cover the rest of your costs for the remainder of the year.
• If you happen to have funds leftover in the account at the end of the year, they will be rolled over to the next year.
There are several enrollment periods in which you should take note of when determining when to enroll in an MSA Plan:
• Initial Enrollment Period: The Initial Enrollment Period begins three months before your 65th birthday and ends three months after your 65th birthday. Once you are enrolled in Original Medicare, you can enroll in a Medicare MSA Advantage Plan. Or, if you become eligible for Medicare because you receive Social Security disability benefits and you are under 65, you can enroll in a Medicare Advantage Plan three months before becoming eligible and up to three months after.
• Annual Enrollment Period: The Annual Enrollment Period begins on October 15 and ends December 7. During this period, you can switch from Original Medicare to a Medicare Advantage Plan. If you are already enrolled in a Medicare Advantage Plan, you will have the option to switch to a new Advantage Plan.
• Special Enrollment Period: The Special Enrollment Period is limited to only those who qualify for it. To qualify, you must have experienced special circumstances, such as moving outside your plan’s service area and needing new coverage. Or, you delayed your Medicare enrollment because you were already covered by another health insurance plan but now need to enroll in Medicare.
If you want to enroll in an MSA plan, the first step should be to find an insurance agent that you trust. Working with professionals will give you the peace of mind that comes from knowing you’re choosing the best policy for your needs.