Medicare and You
One of the most basic questions that many people have about Medicare when they first enroll is the coverage that this program offers. The program can be very confusing at the beginning, but you shouldn’t let it overwhelm you. Once you get started, you will probably feel inundated with deadlines, various “Parts”, co-pays, differing deductibles, and everything else that comes with beginning a new healthcare plan. Of course, you must consider the coverage provided to you by each kind of Medicare plan.
Who Is Covered?
Medicare is a government-run plan which covers most people ages sixty-five and older. This Medicare plan is also available to those people under sixty-five who suffer from certain diseases and disabilities. If you don’t know whether you are eligible for Medicare benefits, find out by visiting the Medicare website at www.medicare.gov.
You will have access to coverage for in-patient hospital care through Medicare Part A. This coverage applies to your nursing care and any in-patient care at a healthcare facility. You can also get coverage for any home health-care and hospice care under Part A. This part of Medicare usually occurs automatically at the age of sixty-five, and it is free.
For other medical coverage, Medicare Part B kicks in. Part B applies to items like doctor’s visits, medical test,home health visits, and also preventative health services. This enrollment is also automatic, but unlike Part A, this Medicare coverage is not free. There are annual deductibles to be paid, as well as a monthly fee.
When you get Medicare Part A and Part B together, it is often referred to as “Original Medicare”.
There is a different option for those who do not want to take Original Medicare. It is available as an alternative through private Medicare-approved companies. These plans are called Medicare Advantage plans, and they are available in place of Original Medicare. Many offer dental, vision, and prescription drugs, and plans will vary.
Prescription Drug Plans
If you elect Part D, you will have some prescription drug coverage. Like Medicare Advantage, Part D is offered through private companies that have been approved by Medicare. Because they are privately run plans, coverage and cost vary.
Filling In the Gaps
You may find that as you explore your Medicare coverage, you run across gaps in your Original Medicare coverage. In that case, you may want to look into Medigap plans, also known as Medicare Supplemental Insurance, which are designed to cover things that your original coverage does not.