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Friday, February 18, 2011

How to understand Medicare

The Baby boom generation is approaching Medicare age. They always told us Medicare and Social Security will not be here. This turned out to be a lie—so far. So how do you apply for Medicare and what exactly is Medicare.

Medicare is the federal health insurance program for people age 65 and older and also some disabled people under age 65. This insurance covers many, but not all medical costs. So, we, in turn, have out-of -pocket expenses that can be costly, if you have a major illness or hospitalization.

There are two parts to Medicare. Part A is hospital insurance that is available to most people at no costs. Part A covers:
Care in hospitals, skilled nursing facilities and hospices.
Home health services
Blood transfusions

Part B is optional Medicare insurance. Most people pay for Part B by a monthly premium.
Part B helps pay for:
Medically necessary doctor or outpatient hospital services.
Services to prevent or detect illnesses at an early stage (flu shots, mammograms, cancer and diabetes screening
Ambulance services
Durable medical equipment such as oxygen tents and wheelchairs
Some other medical services that Part A does not cover.

There are two opportunities included in the Part B insurance. Medicare advantage and Medical supplement. Medicare advantage includes prescriptions, but one must go to the doctors in their network. Medicare advantage would be good if you are healthy and have no particular allegiance to a specific doctor.

Medical suplemental insurance has several choices underneath this type. Look at the benefits of each and how much each category costs.

1 comment:

  1. Just a couple of corrections. Medicare Advantage is also known as Medicare Part C. It is not an option under Medicare B. Also, Medicare Advantage does not include prescription drugs. That is covered under Medicare D. Some companies combine parts C & D into what are called MAPD plans. They are available but not automatic.

    Medicare Advantage is also often built on an HMO chasis. I do not recommend it to people who travel a great deal. Snowbirds who spend 6 months in Florida and 6 months in Michigan should pay special attention to the Medicare Advantage plans. They may only have coverage for 6 months of the year. If they have a Michigan based Advantage plan and get sick while they are in Florida, they run the risk of being financially screwed.