What You May Not Know (But Need To) About Medicare

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medicines, medicareMedicare serves to provide medical insurance to individuals 65 years of age and older and has been around since 1966. Seniors anticipate signing up for this program for numerous years and now have more options than ever before. Sadly, many still fail to recognize the reach of Medicare. Following are some things many individuals don’t know about this valuable program.

Medicare actually consists of four parts. Medicare Part A provides hospital coverage and Part B provides physician and medical insurance. Prescription drug coverage, now known as Part D, didn’t come about until decades later. For those who opt to bypass traditional Medicare, Part C in the form of a Medicare Advantage plan is available. Private insurers offer Medicare Part C plans, but every plan offered through the program must meet or exceed the standards of traditional Medicare.

Medicare covers those services and products which are considered medically necessary, with some services being completely free and others coming with a small deductible or copay. Annual wellness checks come with no fee, along with important screenings, as an example, yet durable medical equipment typically has a copay or deductible. Dental, vision, hearing, long-term care and routine foot care aren’t covered services, however, nor is any care that is obtained when outside the country.

Failing to sign up for Medicare in a timely manner will cost you. Medicare allows individuals to sign up for three months before they turn 65, the month they turn 65 or three months following the month they turn 65. People who choose not to sign up during this seven month window can enroll during the open enrollment period each year, but Part B premiums will typically be higher, by as much as 10 percent for each year enrollment is delayed. For those still working at 65 and obtaining employer-sponsored health care and those who are volunteering abroad, enrollment in Medicare may be delayed without penalty.

Individuals younger than 65 may qualify for Medicare, if they meet certain qualifications. Those who are disabled and individuals suffering from end-stage kidney disease receive access to this insurance at any earlier age. You or your loved one may find you can obtain Medicare before the standard age, and your physician will help determine this.

Medicare isn’t free for all individuals. Some individuals pay nothing for parts of the program, yet others pay based on income. Furthermore, prices change yearly. In 2016, the majority of individuals pay nothing for Part A, but those who must can pay up to $411 each month for this part of the program. In addition, there are deductibles for this hospital insurance and coinsurance payments. For Part B, most participants spend $121.80 per month to obtain coverage, although some payD up to $389.80 a month. Part C plan costs vary by the plan selected, and Part D comes with options, with the highest fee being $72.90 per month.

Keep the above in mind when planning for the future. Medicare helps many, yet it does come with a cost. The more you know about costs you may be expected to pay, the easier it is to determine which plan to select. If you find you need more help, speak to your physician, as he or she can make recommendations based on your current and anticipated future care, and pay attention to any changes made to the program. Doing so ensures you are prepared for anything.


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April 16, 2018 |

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