Medicare: Answers to Common Questions 2018
Medicare is a topic that every person nearing or in retirement should understand. After all, healthcare costs may make up a big share of your expenses during retirement. Use this guide to learn more about Medicare to help you make better decisions about this important benefit.
Who is eligible for Medicare?
Most individuals age 65 and older, as well as certain individuals under age 65 who qualify for Social Security disability benefits. Also individuals with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease) or end-stage renal disease (permanent kidney failure).
What is the difference between Medicare Part A and Part B?
Medicare Part A is hospital insurance and helps cover the cost of inpatient care. Medicare Part B is medical insurance to cover medically necessary services like visits to the doctor and outpatient care.
How do I enroll for Medicare Part B and how much does it cost?
Generally, you enroll in Medicare Part B when you enroll in Medicare Part A, unless you are still covered by you or your spouse’s group medical plan.
There are two options for enrolling for Medicare Part B benefits if you don’t sign up when you are first eligible:
•General Enrollment Period – January 1 through March 31 each year.
•Special Enrollment Period – Extending up to eight months after your group coverage ends.
Premiums vary depending on your household income. See the chart below.
How is Medicare Part C different and why can’t I find how much it costs?
Medicare Part C, now called Medicare Advantage, is medical and hospital insurance provided by private companies.
•Covers everything in Medicare Parts A and B.
•May also cover other medical expenses (e.g. vision, dental).
•May also provide cost-sharing such as co-insurance or copay, but may add additional expense.
•May have premiums that will vary on an individual county basis.
Most Medicare Advantage Plans are managed care plans, usually a health maintenance organization (HMO) or a preferred provider organization (PPO). These plans may require that you choose a primary care physician and get a referral from your PCP to see a specialist, and use only doctors, hospitals, and other medical facilities and services that are part of that health plan’s provider network.
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