If you are nearing retirement age, or are over 65 and still working, you may have questions about Medicare. Read on for the information you need to know.
What is Medicare?
Medicare is health insurance for people age 65 or older, under 65 with certain disabilities or any age with End-Stage Renal Disease (permanent kidney failure).
Types of Medicare
There are four types of Medicare. Medicare Part A helps cover inpatient care in hospitals, skilled nursing facilities, and hospice and home health care. Generally there is no monthly premium if you qualify and paid Medicare taxes while working.
Medicare Part B helps cover medical services like doctors’ services, outpatient care and other medically necessary services that Part A doesn’t cover. You need to enroll in Medicare Part B and pay a monthly premium determined by your income, along with a deductible.
Many people also purchase a supplemental insurance policy, such as a Medigap plan, to handle any Part A and B coverage gaps.
Medicare Advantage Plans, also known as Medicare Part C, are combination plans managed by private insurance companies approved by Medicare. They typically are a combination of Part A, Part B and sometimes Part D coverage, but must cover medically-necessary services. These plans have discretion to assign their own copays, deductibles and coinsurance.
Medicare Part D is prescription drug coverage, and is available to everyone with Medicare. It is a separate plan provided by private Medicare-approved companies, and you must pay a monthly premium.
Medicare sends you a questionnaire about three months before you’re entitled to Medicare coverage. Your answers to these questions, including whether you have group health insurance through an employer or family member, help Medicare set up your file and make sure your claims are paid correctly.