Reaching retirement age doesn't mean that the work is over. It also comes with tough decisions about paying for healthcare with Medicare, along with a yearly review of coverage options.
Deciding when to sign up for Medicare and which plan to choose can often be confusing for aging adults and their caregivers, and it can occupy hours of family and work time.
Medicare Annual Open Enrollment Period (OEP)
The Annual Open Enrollment Period (OEP) for Medicare runs from October 15 through December 7 and is but one of many different Medicare Enrollment Periods which could take up hours of productive work time for many adults. Imagine receiving the 128-page Medicare handbook from the Department of Health and Human Services!
Now, imagine the loss of productivity when enrollment grows to a projected 80 million Americans by 2030.
“Making the change from commercial insurance to Medicare when your employee turns 65 is a big learning curve for anyone," said Trish Hobbs, one of Homethrive’s resident Medicare experts. "The time an employee spends educating themselves on different coverage options and time frames leads to hours of research. It can be distracting for the employee for the rest of the day, not to mention, just down right frustrating."
Caregiving and Medicare
A Homethrive survey of working caregivers found 77 percent of respondents are distracted, worried, or focused on caregiving — and not their jobs — 9 or more hours per week. An AARP study found that 69 percent of working caregivers caring for a family member or friend report having to rearrange their work schedule, decrease their hours, or take unpaid leave to meet their caregiving responsibilities.
During Medicare season, caregiving responsibilities may suddenly include researching complicated health insurance or running interference on Medicare scams for their family members.
"During this time of year, medicare beneficiaries are bombarded with calls from the time they wake up to the time they go to sleep," said Hobbs. "They are also bombarded with mailers and social media ads."
For those employees still working past retirement age, the complicated Medicare maze is even more distracting.
Today’s workforce is more stressed than ever, so why not offer them a lifeline when it comes to something as simple as signing up their folks for health insurance?
Homethrive MediGuides like Trish Hobbs bring a wealth of knowledge to our members, helping them navigate a convoluted system. In addition, Homethrive members have access to free expertise from Chapter, a company dedicated to making Medicare easier to understand and optimizing existing coverage.
As the Annual Open Enrollment Period begins, consider what steps your company can take to relieve the stress of your employees and keep them productive and happy.