What is the “Medicare and You” Handbook?

2021 Medicare and You Handbook
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At Malhotra & Assoc. Insurance, we are here to help you understand all your Medicare options and the resources available to you, such as the Medicare and You Handbook.

The Medicare and You Handbook is a helpful free resource provided by Medicare to inform you about your coverage, how to enroll, what services are covered, and your plan options. You can access it from Medicare’s website as a downloadable PDF and may request your own copy.

Yearly Updates

Right at the beginning of the handbook is a section called “What’s New” which points out the updates to Medicare for the new year. In 2021, you will find updates related to COVID-19, insulin out-of-pocket costs, ESRD access to Medicare Advantage, acupuncture for back pain, telehealth and virtual services, and new uses for Medicare’s updated website.

Plan Comparisons

The handbook shows a comparison of Original Medicare and Medicare Advantage, highlighting the differences in coverage, providers, and costs.

Signing Up for Medicare

To anyone new to Medicare or returning, the enrollment section can serve as a useful guide. It answers commonly asked questions about how to sign up, when to sign up, who can sign up, and what you can sign up for during the different Medicare enrollment periods. It also explains how Medicare works with other insurance, such as COBRA, employer insurance, Medicaid, marketplace coverage, Health Savings Accounts, retiree plans, and more.

Medicare Costs

Tucked after the enrollment questions is a section describing the costs of Medicare Part A and Part B, along with an explanation of the late enrollment penalties of each. It also describes the various ways you can pay for your Medicare coverage.

What’s Covered?

This section is crucial. In alphabetical order for both Part A and Part B, this part of the handbook lists the types of procedures and services covered by Medicare. It also gives you an indication of what you will be expected to pay for each procedure. Part B preventive care services are marked with an apple to the left of the item. If your provider accepts assignment (they will accept Medicare as full payment), you will pay nothing for a majority of these services.

Medicare also has a helpful “What’s Covered?” app that you can download to quickly search whether or not your desired service, test, or item will be covered under Medicare. You can also perform this type of search with the help of the Medicare website.

Plan Explanations

Inside is a detailed explanation of each type of Medicare plan from Original Medicare to Medicare Advantage, Medicare Supplements, and Part D prescription drug plans. This section is one to refer to when you are in the market for a new plan. You can review these descriptions to learn about the coverage, costs, and intricacies of each type of plan to have an understanding of what to expect from each plan type. These descriptions should help you decide which plans are right for you.

Savings Programs

The Medicare and You handbook also contains information about the Extra Help program to help beneficiaries with low incomes and resources afford their prescription medications. It also gives a description of the various Medicare Savings Programs that can help you pay for Part A and Part B.

Medicare Rights

You may need to know your Medicare rights and learn how to recognize and report Medicare fraud. This section will teach you how to protect yourself.

Helpful Resources

If you need further assistance, Medicare lists the contact information for the State Health Insurance Assistance Programs (SHIP) and directs you to their website and contact info for any of your Medicare needs.

Looking for a friendly team of experts to guide you through Medicare? Malhotra & Assoc. Insurance has you covered! Once you have read Medicare and You and feel comfortable with your understanding, our team can work with you to locate the plans that best suit your health care and budget needs.

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