FACTS ABOUT MEDICARE
Another area where there is a lot of misunderstanding and misinformation is Medicare. Medicare currently covers 64 million Americans and almost every American will utilize Medicare at some point in their life so it is very important to understand how this health insurance benefit works:
1. Medicare starts at 65, unless you have been approved for Social Security Disability Insurance and have received 24 qualifying monthly benefit payments (backpay lump sums count towards the 24-month total).
2. Medicare is not free. Most Americans do not have to pay for Part A and pay $170.10 per month for Part B. If you have not paid into Medicare through work or taxes you are still eligible, but you will have to pay the full cost of coverage for Part A, which is up to $499 per month.
3. Medicare insurance comes in four parts:
- Part A – Hospital Coverage
- Part B – Medical Coverage
- Part C – Medicare Advantage
- Part D – Prescription Coverage
4. When you are automatically enrolled in Medicare either due to age or disability, you are only enrolled in Part A and Part B, meaning you are only guaranteed coverage for hospitalizations and doctors’ appointments, not drug coverage or other services. You will need to enroll in Part C and Part D plans for important additional coverage.
5. VERY IMPORTANT – Medicare does not cover a skilled nursing facility or long-term care costs for more than 100 days. Only Medicaid fully covers long-term care.
To make sure you are getting the most out of your Medicare benefit, you can call your State Health Insurance Assistance Program: https://www.shiphelp.org/