What is Medicare?
Medicare is the national health insurance program for people aged 65 and older.
The Medicare Modernization Act passed in 2003, which expanded coverage to include younger people with disabilities or end-stage renal disease. Today, nearly 60 million Americans are receiving Medicare benefits.
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) manages the Medicare program. Social Security works in coordination with CMS to facilitate enrollment.
The program is reasonably easy to understand. And it will benefit you considerably to take the time and review the basics covered below.
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Below, we briefly cover the Medicare basics.
The four parts of Medicare
Medicare is composed of four separate parts. All of which are voluntary.
- Medicare Part A is your Hospital Insurance. It covers all inpatient hospital stays, skilled nursing care, hospice care, and some other home health care.
- Medicare Part B is your Medical Insurance. It covers doctor’s services, medical supplies, and preventive services.
- Medicare Part C is also known as Medicare Advantage. These are private insurance plans that expand your Medicare benefits.
- Medicare Part D are private Prescription Drug plans sold by local insurance companies to lower your prescription cost.
Age Is The Only Eligibility Requirement
As stated above, Medicare covers all Americans over age 65. Age is the only Medicare eligibility requirement for US citizens.
Younger people with disabilities or end-stage renal disease are also eligible.
Original Medicare is free to all Americans who are of age and have worked at least 40 quarters in which they paid into Medicare through taxes. You have already prepaid your Medicare premiums throughout your working career through automatic deductions taken out of your paycheck.
Regardless of how much you earned, as long as you worked 40 quarters (10 years), your Medicare premiums are free for both part A and part B.
If you have not worked 40 quarters in which you paid into Medicare, then only a relative portion of your premiums will be covered based on your total working quarters, and you will have a monthly premium.
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Medicare Enrollment Period
The Medicare enrollment period is a seven month period that begins three months before your 65 birthday, includes your birthday month, and continues for the following three months.
If you miss this seven-month window, you will be subject to a 10% financial penalty that may last for as long as you have Medicare.
Save Money By Adding a Medicare Supplement Plan
Though your premium Medicare payments are free, your coverage is not fully comprehensive. Medicare beneficiaries still face out-of-pocket medical costs in the form of co-pays, coinsurance, and multiple deductibles.
Medicare supplemental insurance plans fill the financial gaps within Original Medicare and can potentially save you hundreds or even thousands of dollars.
Medicare Advantage – The All In One Health Care Solution
As mentioned above, Original Medicare is not fully comprehensive. Not only do financial gaps exist, but so do gaps in covered services. Medicare Advantage plans cover both.
These bundled plans include all your Original Medicare benefits and expand your coverage to include vision, dental, and prescription drugs. These all in one health plans also fill the financial gaps of Original Medicare. You get all this in exchange for a single monthly premium.
Currently, over 17 million Americans own a Medicare Advantage plan. Individuals in poor health will benefit most from these policies, and we strongly suggest you explore what’s available.
Get Help Customizing Your Benefits
Customizing your Medicare benefits is easier than you might think. Our independent insurance agents are here to help you the whole way through.
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