Basic Introduction to Medicare
Medicare is the national health insurance program to which all Social Security recipients who are either over 65 years of age or permanently disabled are eligible.
Medicare is not a welfare program, and should not be confused with Medicaid. The income and assets of a Medicare beneficiary are not a consideration in determining eligibility or benefits payment. Medicare is a national program and procedures should not vary significantly from state to state.
Coverage under Medicare is similar to that provided by private insurance companies: it pays a portion of the cost of medical care. Often, deductibles and co-insurance (partial payment of initial and subsequent costs) are required of the beneficiary.
Your Medicare coverage choices
Medicare has two substantive coverage components, Part A and Part B. Part A covers inpatient hospital care, hospice care, inpatient care in a skilled nursing facility, and home health care services. Part B covers medical care and services provided by doctors and other medical practitioners, home health care, durable medical equipment, and some outpatient care and home health services.
Getting Medicare is a major milestone. Here’s where you can get the information you need, no matter where you are in your Medicare journey.
5 important facts:
Some people get Medicare automatically, and some have to sign up. You may have to sign up if you’re 65 (or almost 65) and not getting Social Security.
There are certain times of the year when you can sign up or change how you get your coverage.
If you sign up for Medicare Part B when you’re first eligible, you can avoid a penalty.
You can choose how you get your Medicare coverage.
You may be able to get help with your Medicare costs.
Did you know, it costs no more to use a qualified professional insurance agent to sign up correctly for your Medicare plan options than it does to go it alone online? And, you might not know this, but if you make any mistakes in signing up, the cost of penalties is added to your monthly premiums for the remainder of your life.