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Understanding Medicare


          There are thousands of Baby Boomers that are aging into Medicare every single day. That’s a lot of people all of the sudden looking for information about Medicare that they might not know anything about. This makes it important to become informed about what exactly Medicare is and the benefits that it can present you or your significant other with. If you are fast approaching – or have just recently passed – the milestone to apply for Medicare, take heart. Medicare can be something to welcome in your life, especially if you take the time out to understand the different parts and resources that it provides.

            You generally qualify for Medicare once you turn 65 and have worked for 40 quarters. If you are already receiving Social Security at this time, you will automatically be signed up for Medicare. Your Medicare Card is usually set to arrive about three months before your 65th birthday. However, if you are not receiving Social Security, you will need to take the appropriate steps to sign up for Medicare.

            First things first, you might be wondering what exactly Medicare is. Well, Medicare is a federal health insurance program signed into law by President Lyndon B. Johnson in July of 1965. The idea behind it was to provide a way to help those 65 years or older to pay for their medical expenses. Medicare has expanded over the years to provide coverage for some younger people with disabilities and people who suffer from end-stage kidney disease. Most people before turning 65 get their health insurance through group plans offered by their employer’s or spouse’s employer. However, once you are 65 you are usually eligible for one of the largest health plans offered. Medicare can be used as your sole health insurance or as backup coverage to your existing insurance.

Medicare consists of several different parts:

Part A and B, also known as Original or Traditional Medicare, help pay for those pesky hospital bills. Most people have paid for their Part A premiums through payroll taxes while working. Part B then helps you pay for doctor visits and other medical services.

Part C Plans, or Medical Advantage Plans, are Medicare-approved plans that private insurance companies offer. These are an alternative to Traditional Medicare. Part C plans cover doctors and hospitals, while also providing the extra benefit of prescription drugs.

Part D Plans are Medicare-approved private plans that are used to help out the People who have Parts A and B coverage pay for their prescription drugs.

There is no one-size-fits-all option when it comes to Medicare coverage. For some people, Medicare supplement is the best route, while other people may find Medicare Advantage more to their liking. Premiums and plan coverage change every single year, so it’s important to review these changes to make sure that your plan is still working with your best interest in mind.

            You should keep in mind that Medicare doesn’t cover all of the health care costs that you may need. Many services, like dental and vision care, are not covered by Medicare. Unless you qualify for low-income assistance or have additional insurance, you will have to pay premiums, deductibles, and copays just like any other kind of insurance.