Simple Tips for Understanding Medicare

Monday August 21, 2017
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If you or a loved one is approaching the age of 65, you will soon be eligible for Medicare. Navigating the ins and outs of this program can be simplified with these simple tips.

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What is Medicare?

Medicare is a federal government-run health insurance program offered to those 65 and older, set into motion by President Lyndon B. Johnson in 1965 to help senior citizens manage health care and medical expenses. It can be used solely, or in addition to your own group or private insurance coverage.

 

How is Medicare Broken Down?

Medicare is divided into various parts, A, B, C and D. Parts A and B, considered the original or traditional Medicare plan, help seniors pay for their hospital bills (Part A) as well as doctor visitors and other medical services such as screenings (Part B), according to AARP.com. Part C consists of health plans that have been Medicare-approved and are offered by private insurance companies. In addition to the coverage of Parts A and B, Part C plans can include prescription drug coverage as well. Similar to Part C, Part D assists seniors who have Part A and B pay for their prescription medications.

 

When to Use Medicare

If you have health care insurance coverage still available to you beyond the age of 65, you may not need to access your Medicare option yet which can impact how much you have to pay for your Medicare benefits. Confirming this with a benefits manager can help answer any questions about your financial responsibility for Medicare usage. Ensure your Medicare benefits are in place prior to cancelling any existing group/private coverage.

 

Are you Qualified for Medicare?

Beyond age, other qualifications are required to be eligible for Medicare, such as American citizenship, being a legal resident, work status and more. If you haven’t worked long enough or aren’t eligible for other reasons, there may be buy-in options.

 

How Do You Begin Receiving Medicare? 

Enrollment in Medicare is necessary to receive benefits, and there is not official notification. There is a seven-month enrollment period — three months prior to the senior’s 65th birthday and three months after — during which you can enroll for Medicare Parts A and B. To avoid late fees, it’s important to enroll during this period. A special enrollment period applies as well, such as if you still have group insurance and other extenuating circumstances.

 

Medicare offers full benefits for eligible seniors 65 and over, but it can be a complex system. Be sure to speak with a health benefits expert if you have any questions or if you need help enrolling yourself or a loved into the program.

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