Did you know that 2015 is the 50th anniversary of Medicare? That’s right for 50 years, Medicare has been chugging along affecting the lives of Americans (good or bad) by providing health care to our aging population.
What is Medicare?
Medicare is federal health insurance for people age 65 or older, certain people with disabilities, and people with End-Stage Renal Disease. There are different parts to medicare:
Medicare Part A (Hospital Insurance):
This covers inpatient hospital stays, care in a skilled nursing facility under very limited conditions, hospice care, and some home health care. I want to make something very clear, part A is NOT an option for long term care insurance – I cannot emphasize that enough! Medicare is NOT your solution for long term care!
Medicare Part B (Medical Insurance):
Part B covers certain doctors' services, outpatient care, medical supplies, and preventive services.
Medicare Part C (Medicare Advantage Plans):
This is a type of Medicare health plan offered by a private company that contracts with Medicare to provide your Part A and B benefits. Medicare Advantage Plans include HMOs, PPOs, Private Fee-for-Service Plans, Special Needs Plans, and Medicare Medical Savings Account Plans. If you’re enrolled in a Medicare Advantage Plan, most Medicare services are covered through the plan and aren’t paid for under Original Medicare. Most Medicare Advantage Plans offer prescription drug coverage.
Medicare Part D (prescription drug coverage):
Part D adds prescription drug coverage to Original Medicare, some Medicare Cost Plans, some Medicare Private-Fee-for-Service Plans, and Medicare Medical Savings Account Plans.
These plans are offered by insurance companies approved by Medicare. Medicare Advantage Plans may also offer prescription drug coverage that follows the same rules as Medicare Prescription Drug Plans.
How to tell what kind of coverage you have:
If you need help determining the type of coverage you have, you can do the following:
- Check your red, white, and blue Medicare card.
- Check your Medicare health or drug plan enrollment.
- Or you can just call 800-MEDICARE (800-633-4227)
You might need to be proactive in signing up for Part A & Part B!
Enrolling in Medicare isn’t always automatic! You need to sign up for Part A and Part B if:
- You aren't getting Social Security
- You qualify for Medicare because you have End-Stage Renal Disease (ESRD).
When to sign up
The Initial Enrollment Period is your first shot at signing up for Medicare. It starts 3 months before your 65th birthday, includes the month of your birthday, and 3 months after the month of your birthday. This totals 7 months. Don’t enroll late! Remember that if you enroll late, you’ll get hit with a penalty in the form of a permanent premium increase, and it’s for keeps!
And because Medicare is a vital part of a person’s financial and retirement plan, we assist our clients through this process. If you have questions about this, please contact us for more information.
The content is developed from sources believed to be providing accurate information. The information in this material is not intended as tax or legal advice. It may not be used for the purpose of avoiding any federal tax penalties. Please consult legal or tax professionals for specific information regarding your individual situation. The opinions expressed and material provided are for general information, and should not be considered a solicitation for the purchase or sale of any security.