Dear Donna:

For the first time this year I will be helping my father with his Medicare Open Enrollment. My mother passed away unexpectedly last year and it is something she always did for both of them. I know it is an important process, but I’m not quite sure how to help him. I’m not yet eligible for Medicare myself so I don’t really understand what is covered, what isn’t and why he might need to make changes.

Can you help?

Doris in Holland, Michigan

Dear Doris:

First off, please accept my condolences. I’m sure this has been a tough year for you and your Dad.

It isn’t uncommon for adult children to find themselves struggling to help a parent with Medicare Open Enrollment. Like you, many have not yet reached the age when they are eligible for the benefit. So the alphabet soup of Medicare A, B, C and D can be very confusing. Here is just a quick overview of what each part of Medicare covers:

  • Medicare Part A:
    • Inpatient hospital care
    • Short-term skilled nursing and rehab (if qualifying conditions are met)
    • Hospice care
    • Home health care (if qualifying conditions are met)
  • Medicare Part B:
    • Physicians & other health care providers
    • Outpatient rehab (up to a pre-determined limit)
    • Some medical equipment
    • Ambulance services for an emergency
    • Some preventative services and screenings
  • Medicare Part D:
    • Prescription medications

Equally important is understanding what is NOT covered by your father’s Medicare benefit:

  • Long-term care in a nursing home or assisted living
  • Routine dental care and eye care
  • Hearing aids & exams
  • Routine foot care
  • In-home care

Medicare has a brochure you may find helpful in getting started. Yearly Medicare Plan Review is a free download that has important dates and resources to assist you with Medicare Open Enrollment.

I hope this information makes the process go more smoothly for you and your father, Doris!



Heritage Senior Communities is pleased to announce that our newest community is opening soon in Holland, Michigan. The Village at Appledorn West will offer adults over the age of 55 one- and two-bedroom independent living apartments. The campus will also be expanded to include assisted living in the spring of 2015.

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