What is Medicare?
Medicare is a federal health insurance program that pays for a variety of health care expenses, and covers the following type of people:
- those who are age 65 or older
- certain younger people with specific disabilities
- those with End-Stage Renal Disease (ESRD) - permanent kidny failure requiring dialysis or a transplant
As is the case with Social Securiety, Medicare is an entitlement program, in which most United States citizens earn the right to enroll in Medicare by working and paying their taxes for a minimum required period. Even if you did not work long enough to be entitled to Medicare benefits, you just may still qualify to enroll with a higher cost attached.
Is there more than one plan with Medicare?
There are actually four seperate plans with Medicare. Below is a list of them and a general description of what they cover.
- Medicare Part A - Hospital Insurance (Original Medicare) - this plan will cover your inpatient hospital stays, your care if you are in a skilled nursing facility, any hospice care, and some home health care. Typically you would not be required to pay a monthly premium to receive coverage under this plan. As a general rule you would have successfully completed a minimum of 10 years work and paid Medicare taxes while you were working (meaning approximately 40 quarters). Otherwise you would have to pay a monthly premium.
- Medicare Part B - Medical Insurance (Original Medicare) - this plan covers specific Doctor's services, your outpatient care, medical supplies, and any preventive services. You would be paying a monthly premium for this plan. How much that premium would cost relies solely on your income bracket. So, this higher your income the higher your premium. This would be where Medicade could be beneficial for you as they could potentially cover the costs you are aquiring through utalizing this Plan B.
- Medicare Part C - Medicare Advantage Plans - this plan is a specific type of Medicare that is offered by a private company that carries a contract with Medicare to provide you with all your Part A and Part B benefits at the same time. Midecare Advantage Plans include Health Maintenance Organizations, Preferred Provider Organizations, Private Fee-for-service Plans, Special Needs Plans, and Medicare Medical Savings Account Plans. If you are enrolled in a Medicare Advantage Plan, most medicare services are covered through the plan and are not paid for under Original Medicare. Most Medicare Advantage Plans offer prescription drug coverage.
- Medicare Part D - Prescription Drug Coverage - this plan adds drug coverage to the Original Medicare, as well as some Medicare Cost Plans, some Medicare Private Fee-for-Service Plans, as well as some of the Medicare Medical Savings Account Plans. These plans are offered by insurance companies, along with other private companies that are approved by Medicare. These Medicare Advantage Plans may also offer prescription drug coverage that follows the exact same rules that are contained within the Medicare Prescription Drug Plans.