What is Medicare? | Medicare Part A | Medicare Part B | Medicare Part C | Medicare Part D | Medicare Supplements | Medicare Advantage | Medicare Prescriptions | Medicare Disability | Medicare & Medicaid | Medicare Enrollment Periods | Initial Enrollment Period | Medicare Annual Enrollment Period | Special Enrollment Periods |
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What is Medicare?
Medicare is a federal health insurance program for individuals that are 65 and older, have been on disability for more than 24 months, or have ESRD or ALS. Having Original Medicare is defined as having Part A, known as Hospital Coverage, and Part B, known as Medical Coverage. In total, Medicare has four standard parts: A, B, C, and D.
Medicare Part A
Medicare Part A will cover hospital, skilled nursing, hospice, and home health care. It does not have a monthly premium for the vast majority of Medicare beneficiaries.
Medicare Part B
Part B helps covers medically necessary services like doctors, outpatient care, home health services, and more. Part B also covers some preventive services. Part B can be delayed to 65 if you have work insurance.
The standard monthly Part B premium starts at $164.90 a month but can increase depending on your income.
Medicare Part C
Medicare Part C is known as Medicare Advantage, and is optional. In its most basic form, Medicare Advantage is an equivalent to Medicare Parts A & B from Medicare-approved private insurance companies. Medicare Advantage plans often offer coverage for things Original Medicare doesn’t cover such as prescriptions, vision, dental, gym memberships, and more.
Medicare Part D
Part D of Medicare is prescription drug coverage. It is offered to everyone with Medicare Parts A and/or B. This can be obtained by purchasing a stand-alone Prescription Drug Plan (PDP) alongside a Medicare Supplement Plan, or by enrolling in a Medicare Advantage plan with Prescription drug coverage (MAPD). You sign up for Part D through Medicare approved private insurance companies.
Medicare Supplements or "Medigap" insurance is made to supplement or "fill the gaps" of Original Medicare (Parts A and B). Original Medicare on its own has high deductibles, copays and coinsurances. Medicare Supplements help cover these extra costs and help limit large medical bills for an additional monthly premium. A beneficiary must be enrolled in both Parts A & B to apply.
Full Article: Medicare Supplements
Medicare Advantage is an equivalent to Medicare Parts A & B from Medicare-approved private insurance companies. It is also known as Medicare Part C. Medicare Advantage plans often offer coverage for things Original Medicare doesn’t cover such as prescriptions, vision, dental, gym memberships, and more.
Full Article: Medicare Advantage
Medicare Part D offers prescription coverage through standalone prescription drug plans (PDPs) and Medicare Advantage plans with prescription drug coverage (MAPDs). These plans often have a monthly premium as well as copays for your prescriptions that vary in price depending on what type of drug you are purchasing.
Medicare Disability is offered to those who are under 65 who have been receiving Social Security Disability Income for 24 consecutive months or have been diagnosed with ESRD or ALS. Medicare Disability is the same as Original Medicare, but the secondary plans available to you may be slightly different compared to those 65 and older.
Full Article: Medicare Disability
Medicare & Medicaid
People who receive both Medicare and Medicaid are known as “Dual-Eligible”. People with Dual Eligible status can be offered additional secondary options such as D-SNP (Dual Eligible Special Needs Plans) depending on their locations. Dual Eligible plans often provide benefits Original Medicare does not, such as Care Coordinators, OTC Cards, and more.
Full Article: Medicaid
Medicare Enrollment Periods
There are many different enrollment periods for joining Medicare initially, or for switching Medicare secondary plans. Here are a few of the biggest ones:
Initial Enrollment Period
Your Initial Enrollment Period is when you can first take Medicare Parts A and B and a secondary plan. This is typically due to turning 65, or going onto Medicare Disability. The Initial Enrollment Period may also be coupled with the Medicare supplement Open Enrollment period, which is an amazing time that allows you to take just about any Medicare secondary plan available in your area regardless of your health and pre-existing conditions.
Medicare Annual Enrollment Period
This period is from October 15th to December 7th every year. During this time, you can evaluate your health and financial needs and decide what Medicare plans you would like to have in the upcoming calendar year. What plans you can switch to and what plans require health questions for enrollment often depends on your state and zip code.
Special Enrollment Periods
Special Enrollment Periods are designed to help you join Medicare initially or switch Medicare options if you are affected by major life events. Some common Special Enrollment Periods (SEPs) include moving, leaving or losing work insurance, losing Medicaid, and more. Each Special Enrollment Period has a unique time window and options for changing your Medicare coverage.