In a year full of health concerns and questions about insurance and treatment, online searches for Medicare have gone through the roof. While both existing and new members are still plagued by uncertainty around what exactly their policy includes and how they can use it to their full benefit, the basic concept is outstandingly simple. Having coverage with Medicare is integral to ensuring you are able to receive the treatment you need without getting unprecedented bills soon after.
Understanding Medicare’s Different Options
When it comes to understanding Medicare, the first thing to focus on is the breakdown of different coverage plans available to members. After all, prior to joining Medicare you likely received your medical coverage under an employer’s plan or a plan shared with your Spouse, so this will be the first time that you have had to really understand Medicare and what it all means.
Part A covers Hospital Insurance and will cover inpatient stays, hospice care, home health care (dependent on individual requirements) and care in a nursing facility when you reach a certain age. It also covers the generic expenses associated with getting older such as nursing home care and if needed end of life care.
Part B covers Medical Insurance, and tends to become applicable when you receive outpatient Doctor care or services, or require certain medical supplies. This includes everything from x-rays to blood tests and routine screenings.
Part C is one of the lesser known plans with Medicare, primarily because it is operated through private insurance and isn’t included in Original Medicare. Instead it is controlled by private insurers themselves with varying costs and coverages. If you opt for Part C, use it as an opportunity to add a little more to the coverage you already have under Part A and Part B.
Part D refers to Prescription Drug Coverage, and can help to cover the cost of prescription drugs, vaccines and recommended shots as advised by a Doctor. This is often regarded as a separate plan – not included in the Original Medicare package, but for many members a must when it comes to facing the bill for medications and treatments.
Signing Up for Medicare
When you sign up for Medicare, or become eligible as you turn 65, you will find that the forms involved in the process ask you to select between one of two options. The first is known as Original Medicare, and includes Parts A and B within the package. The second is called Medicare Advantage, and it is this package which generally includes all three plans for all-round coverage.
One of the biggest questions asked by those looking to sign up for Medicare is around cost – most importantly, how does Medicare support medical bills and what upfront and ongoing costs are associated for the member?
This is where it becomes important to not just understand Medicare but also understand your own unique needs and requirements.
Under Part A, provided you qualify and have paid all your taxes, you may not have to pay a premium. If, however, you have worked in the United States for less than 10 years, you will likely have to pay a premium and a percentage of each medical bill received.
Part B comes with a premium payment associated with your income and the income of your household. Likewise, Part D is dependent on your income too, but a higher premium may provide a more comprehensive coverage for the beneficiary.