Given the growing health care costs today, it is essential to explore benefits that may alleviate the financial burden that private health insurance can be. Medicare, a non-means tested program, is a federal health program for individuals who are age 65 or older, certain younger individuals with disabilities, and individuals with End-Stage Renal Disease. There are four (4) different parts of Medicare, which include the following:
§ Part A (Hospital Insurance) includes inpatient hospital stays, limited care in a skilled nursing facility, hospice care, and some health care.
§ Part B (Medical Insurance) includes doctors’ services, outpatient care, medical supplies, and preventative services.
§ Part C (Medicare Advantage Plans) is offered by a private company that contracts with Medicare to provide individuals with all Part A and B benefits. Most Medicare services are covered through the private company’s plan and are not paid for under traditional Medicare. Additionally, most Medicare Advantage Plans offer prescription drug coverage.
§ Part D provides prescription drug coverage.
Individuals who receive Social Security Disability are automatically eligible for Medicare after they have received disability benefits for two years. For individuals age 65 or older, most are available for free Medicare Part A if they have worked and paid Medicare taxes long enough. An individual should sign up for Part A three (3) months before his sixty-fifth (65th) regardless of whether he intends to begin receiving retirement benefits. Anyone eligible for free Medicare Part A can enroll in Part B by paying a monthly premium.