If your not familiar with a Medicare Part D plan, understand that it covers drug prescriptions. Original Medicare does not cover drug prescriptions, and neither does a Medicare Insurance Plan. In 2014, you will have the choice on average, between 35 prescription drug plans. If you are receiving Low-Income Subsidies in 2013 you will have access to a modestly higher number of plans for no monlthy premium in 2014 compared to 2013, but you may have to switch plans to reap the benefits of being a smart shopper in a changing market. Feel free to use our Drug Prescription Price Calculator to get an estimate for your Part D premium.
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What is Medicare?
Medicare is a national social insurance program for people who are 65-years-old or older, certain younger people who have disabilities, and people with End-Stage Renal Disease (otherwise known as permanent kidney failure). It was created by Congress in 1965 under the leadership of President Johnson. Included in the Social Security Act, its main goal was and is to provide insurance to the previously mentioned group of people regardless of income or medical history. Before the creation of Medicare, older adults paid more than three times as much as younger people for their insurance, which is hard to sustain considering that at that age, most people were retired and living off a mere percentage of what they were once making.
How Does It Work?
Medicare works by first determining eligibility and any special terms. The Social Security Administration is responsible for determining eligibility for Medicare, eligibility for Extra Help or Low Income Subsidy Payments, and collecting a portion of the premium payments associated with the program. Everyone receiving Social Security at age 65 is automatically enrolled and sent a Medicare card. If they are not receiving Social Security, they need to apply at a Social Security office during a specified enrollment period. Once they are enrolled, there are different parts of Medicare that will cover different costs.
What are the Different Parts?
Medicare has four distinct parts. The original program only included Parts A and B (Hospital and Medical insurance), but C and D (Medicare Advantage Plans and prescription drug coverage) were added to make the insurance more all-inclusive.
Part A: Hospital/Hospice Insurance
This part is not optional and covers inpatient stays, hospice care, care in a nursing facility, and some health care. The maximum length of stay that it will cover in the hospital or hospice is typically 90 days with the first 60 days being completely covered in full except for one co-pay at the beginning of the stay. The next 30 days require a co-payment for each day. The maximum length of stay Medicare will cover in a skilled nursing facility is 100 days per ailment with the first 20 days being completely covered in full and the next 80 requiring a co-payment per day.
Part B: Medical Insurance
This part helps to cover certain doctors' services, lab tests, medical supplies, outpatient care, and preventative services. It is optional and may be deterred if the beneficiary (or their spouse) is still working and has the beneficiary included in their health coverage through that employer. Part B coverage begins after a patient meets their deductible. Medicare will then typically cover 80% of approved services with the remaining 20% to be paid for by the patient or private Medigap insurance.
Part C: Medicare Advantage Plans
A Medicare Advantage Plan is a health plan offered by a private company. These several companies contract with Medicare to help provide all the benefits of Parts A and B. If enrolled in a Medicare Advantage Plan, services that are not paid for by Original Medicare (Parts A and B), will be covered by the plan.
Part D: Prescription Drug Coverage
This part was put into effect in 2006 and anyone who is eligible for Part A or B, is eligible for Part D. By enrolling in a Medicare Advantage Plan with prescription drug coverage (MA-PD) or a stand-alone Prescription Drug Plan (PDP), the price of the drugs can be covered. Each plan chooses which drugs they want to cover and how much they want to cover.
How Many Members on It and Joining?
In 2013, the number of people receiving Medicare was estimated at around 52.3 million with 43.5 million people being the right age and 8.8 million due to disabilities. About 11,000 new seniors become eligible for Medicare every day.
How is It Paid For?
Medicare has many outlets for funds and financing. Payroll taxes largely fund Part A while Parts B and D are partially funded by fund revenues and the premiums of existing members. Medicare spending is also about 15% of the Federal Budget.
Medicare in the News
Most recently, Medicare has been in the news because as the Baby Boom generation begins to retire, the 2030 projection for enrolled Medicare looks like 80 million with the spending to increase to over $1 trillion by just 2022. In related news, outlets have also been covering the creation of a Hepatitis C drug that Medicare spent $4.5 billion on.
Source for statistics: http://www.ncpssm.org/Medicare/MedicareFastFacts
Many people recognize the need for every sector of health treatment to be covered.
As people get older, their health begins to take a toll. Every component of the body, such as the muscles, bones, organs and immune system, are no longer able to function at its peak. All sorts of ailments and maladies begin to plague the body. The federal government has recognized the need for some sort of system to help provide health coverage for seniors. This is why Medicare was created and it has helped millions of Americans who are of retirement age. Medicare can be of great help when you start requiring more health care as you age or get disabled. You may find Original Medicare works great to help with most of the costs of doctors’ visits and prescription costs, but you will also find gaps where you least expect them. In order to have maximum coverage, you may want to think of adding Medicare insurance supplement.
Part A of Medicare is often called hospital insurance because it helps pay for hospital stays, hospice care, and home healthcare. The coverage is often allowed for a certain period of time, and then it is up to you to pay for the remaining stay. Hospital and skilled nursing facilities can become very expensive quickly, and you shouldn’t have to think of financial burdens during your stay. You will be able to focus more clearly on your recovery when you add Medicare insurance supplements to your Original Medicare because they help cover extended costs when you need to stay in facilities. You can stay up to a year longer than what Medicare covers when you have supplements in place.
Part B of Medicare is also an important coverage, as it helps with doctors’ visits, durable medical equipment, home healthcare, and preventative care. You may need to visit a specialist at some point in your life, and you can get help with the costs with Part B of Original Medicare. There may still be some costs left after you have the necessary care, and you can get the remaining costs mostly covered with supplements. You may be able to get the opinions of any doctors or specialists when you know you don’t have to worry about the costs associated.
There are also unique circumstances that may be covered when you least expect it with Medicare insurance supplements. You may need a blood fusion of up to 3 liters, and you can get the costs covered with your supplements. You may also travel abroad and receive necessary healthcare with your supplemental insurance.
You may never predict what is going to happen with your health as you age, but you can protect yourself from the costs associated with supplemental insurance coverage. You can take care of yourself more fully exactly when you need to when you enroll in supplemental coverage as soon as you become eligible. You may find even more helpful information about Medicare supplements by calling 1-800-MEDIGAP (1-800-633-4427).
Deciding whether Medicare Insurance cost are worth your money?
The gaps in Medicare are leaving you vulnerable to huge out of pocket expenses!
As you’ve grown older, you have likely found that many parts of life have gotten better with age. Knowing who you really are and understanding how the world works seems to get easier as time goes by. However, all the knowledge, wisdom, and experience you have gained may not make some parts of your retirement any easier because to outset all the benefits of aging, there can sometimes be a few drawbacks, too. The increasing price tag for medical care may have you wondering about how you will make sure you staycovered throughout your golden years without draining your hard-earned savings. Medigap plans can help you cover the holes in your Medicare plan, so here are some guidelines to help you decide if Medicare supplement insurance costs are worth the price.
The first step is to know your own insurance. Medicare supplement insurance costs depend on what type of Medigap you purchase, so understanding your Medicare insurance and what it covers is important in order for you to decide which, if any, Medigap plan will provide you with useful benefits that you aren’t already receiving. Some individuals feel that their benefits through Medicare are sufficient for their needs, and you will need to decide if you are one of them. A good way to judge may be to analyze how much of your medical expenses over the past year on Medicare have been paid out of pocket. If you are often supplementing your care this way, then a Medigap plan may prove beneficial.
Once you are feeling familiar with your own insurance policy and have a good grasp on how much out of pocket expenses are costing you, it’s time to look at the different supplemental insurance policies you could purchase. There are several different insurance policies that are meant to bridge the gaps in you Medicare, and each carries different benefits. If, in you analysis of recent expenses, you find that you tend to be spending money for certain kinds of care, then a Medigap policy that covers those areas may actually reduce the amount of money you are paying for doctor visits and care, even when you take the Medicare supplement insurance costs into account.
Medical care is becoming more and more expensive. Getting caught without the right coverage could cost you thousands of dollars and deplete your savings should you become ill or develop a chronic condition. Get all the facts about how Medigap plans can complement your Medicare coverage by calling 1-800-MEDIGAP (1-800-633-4427). Let the representative who answers the phone help you understand if Medigap is right for you.