Will you still need me
Will you still feed me
When I’m 64?
Times have changed since The Beatles first sang that song more than 40 years ago.
These days, reaching age 64 doesn’t just mean “you can knit a sweater
by the fireside” or “Sunday mornings, go for a ride.” Many of
today’s 64-year-olds are active, involved members of our community. They are
volunteering or going back to school to remain physically and mentally engaged.
Many continue to work in their present jobs or switch to new careers. No matter
how you spend your time when you’re 64, it’s important to start planning
for your health care future to keep you healthy so you can do the things you enjoy.
Once you reach age 65, you will be eligible for Medicare benefits. However, Medicare
only pays a portion of your medical costs. You should not expect that the benefits
you receive from your job will be the same as Medicare. In many cases, it is less.
That’s why many retirees choose to enhance their coverage with a Medicare
plan offered through health plans like HMSA.
Last year, HMSA introduced a new Medicare health plan called Akamai Advantage,
a Medicare Advantage plan that offers benefits greater than original Medicare. This
year, Akamai Advantage health plan options feature new, improved benefits that cost
from $0 a month to $60 a month, depending on what plan you choose. With Akamai Advantage,
retirees receive medical and prescription drug coverage with no or low deductibles
that go beyond original Medicare. Akamai Advantage also includes dental discounts
and preventive benefits, such as HMSA365 discounts on health and wellness services
and products, health education classes, health risk assessments, health coaching,
If you’re eligible, you should plan to apply for Medicare during the three
months before the month you turn 65. With no penalty, you can apply during the initial
enrollment period – three months before your birthday month, on your birthday month,
and three months after your birthday month.
Even if you already have a Medicare health plan, you should reassess your health
status and budget every year since your health and plan benefits change every year.
You have the opportunity to change to another health plan during the open enrollment
period, Oct. 15 to Dec. 7.
Whether you are new to Medicare or already have a Medicare plan, it’s important
that you plan ahead and do your homework to choose a health plan that’s right
for you. Your decision will help you stay healthy so you can do the things you love,
such as “doing the garden, digging the weeds” or spending time with
“grandchildren on your knee.”
Who could ask for more?
Choose a Medicare plan to fit your health needs and budget.
When it comes to shopping for a Medicare health plan, one size doesn’t fit
all. You need a health plan that fits you.
Even if you already have Medicare, it’s important to re-evaluate your health
plan every year. Benefits and costs change every year. So do your budget and health
status. You can change health plans during the open enrollment period from Oct.
15 to Dec. 7. This is a change from last year’s Dec. 31 deadline.
Here are some important factors to consider when choosing a health plan:
Health status. Do you have a chronic condition that requires a
lot of doctor visits, treatments, and medication? Do you require specialty care
in addition to seeing a primary care provider? Do you expect to be hospitalized
or need surgery? If so, you may want a health plan with a high level of hospital
coverage. If you are in relatively good health and need coverage “just in
case” for emergencies, you may consider a plan that costs less with features
that fit your health status, such as one with a $0 monthly premium. However, keep
in mind that you risk paying more out-of-pocket costs if you are hospitalized due
to an emergency or unexpected illness. Also, if you travel a lot, you may consider
a plan that has Mainland or worldwide coverage.
Budget. Consider what your out-of-pocket costs will be, including
monthly premiums, copayments, and deductibles. How much can you afford? The cheapest
plan may not necessarily save you money in the long term or if you have a serious
medical condition and are admitted to the hospital for a long period. Also, find
out what is your plan’s out-of-pocket maximum (the most you pay in a year
for Medicare-covered services. If you exceed that amount, the health plan will pay
Prescription drugs. Are the medications you’re taking covered
under the plan? What will your copayment be? Which pharmacies are in the plan’s
Doctors and hospitals. Is your doctor or hospital in the health
plan’s provider network? Keeping your doctor helps ensure the continuation
of your care. Not all plans offer an extensive network like HMSA.
Customer service. Is customer service available to answer your
questions during local business hours? Can you meet with a representative in person
for personalized service?
Health and wellness. What kinds of preventive care programs are
available to keep you healthy? These would include health education classes, health
coaching, and discounts to gym memberships and other health and wellness products
Reputation. Is the health plan financially stable and reputable?
Does it have an adequate financial reserve for emergencies? Is it nationally accredited?
For example, HMSA is Hawai‘i’s most experienced health plan that has
been part of generations of Island families for almost 75 years.
HMSA’s Akamai Advantage is designed to offer you a variety of health plans
to meet your health needs and budget. It’s important you research and plan
early to find the best plan for you.