COVID-19 has affected more than 5.76 million people in the US, of which 178K died. 80% of those who lost their lives were aged 65 or more. These numbers are good enough to make you think how vulnerable senior citizens are to the ongoing pandemic and other diseases (75% of total deaths from other causes belonged to senior citizens).

Here you can only see the number of seniors who lost their lives since the COVID-19 struck the US. But what about those who are still exposed to the risk of getting affected?

Now that the lockdown has crushed the economy and caused millions of job losses, seniors are left helpless, hopeless, and at the risk of paying substantial hospital bills that never stop coming. The only way for them to cope with the situation is to opt for a decent health insurance coverage that can take care of medical bills, if not their lives.

That said, when you think of choosing seniors health insurance, chances are you may get confused as many factors play a considerable role here. This guide aims to clear all your doubts and help you choose the right health insurance coverage for senior citizens.

Eligibility For Health Insurance

As much as people like to stay fit and never fall for any disease, they can hardly control ageing and steadily-weakening immune system. Instead of avoiding health insurance, think about it as an extension of your well-being and a healthy body.

Before choosing an insurance plan for senior citizens, carefully check the eligibility. Typically, senior citizens up to the age of 65 are easily covered in most policies. The enrolment period begins three months before the 65th birthday and lasts four months after it. If you miss out this period, then be ready to pay extra penalties and lapses.

The special enrolment period is for those seniors who aren’t working full-time anywhere. For those who are employed at 65, there is no need to enrol as their commercial insurance coverage takes care of everything.

Assess Your Options Carefully

You can find two types of Medicare plans in the US — Medicare Advantage and Original Medicare.

Medicare Advantage plan is offered by private insurance companies and covers prescription drugs, dental, vision, and other related services. Original Medicare, on the other hand, is a government-offered service plan that is divided into two parts — Part A (hospital insurance) and Part B (medical insurance). After the patient pays the initial deductible amount, Medicare takes care of the rest of the amount. If you want to opt for prescription coverage, you need to pay an additional premium.

Knowledge of both these options will help you choose the option that meets your requirements and budget.

Choose The Right Plan

Sometimes, in an attempt to save money, seniors may choose the least expensive Medicare drug prescription plan, and overspend on prescription drugs as well as Part D premiums. If they research thoroughly before selecting a policy, a lot of hard-earned money can be saved.

Some of the factors that you must keep in mind while choosing a health insurance plan are — coverage, miscellaneous costs (deductibles, copays, etc.), and customer service quality. If you don’t know much about any of these factors and can’t make a call, then consider having a word with a good medicare expert who can help you choose the right plan according to your needs and earnings.

Enrolment For The Health Insurance

Once you have done the hard work by shuffling through different plans and picked the one that suits your needs, the next step is to enrol for medical and healthcare benefits. There are three ways to go about it. First, you can enrol by visiting SSA. Another option is to call the Social Security number, and the last one is to enrol by visiting your nearby Social Security office.

You can either work with an insurance agent or a company, depending on your comfort level. Regardless of whom you choose for this purpose, the premiums remain unchanged.

These are some of the most important yet often ignored factors that can help you choose the right health insurance plan without facing any troubles. So, keep them in mind before you plan to move ahead and opt for health insurance.

Author's Bio: 

Author, Freelance writer