If you have reached the age of 65 (or are under the age 65 but qualify for Social Security disability benefits), you probably have questions about Medicare. The following is a simple explanation to help unravel some of the confusion regarding the different parts of Medicare:
- Part A of Medicare covers you for your Inpatient Hospital expenses. A qualified recipient receives Part A at no cost.
- Part B covers your Medical Expenses (i.e. doctors’ visits and diagnostic testing). The premium for Part B coverage ranges from $105 to $336 depending on your income.
- Part C (also called Medicare Advantage Plans) offers medical and hospital coverage through a private insurance carrier. There may be a premium depending on the county you live in. Most Medicare Advantage plans are HMO’s or PPOs. You must be enrolled into Medicare parts A and B to enroll in a part C plan.
- Part D is your prescription drug coverage. There is also a premium for this depending on the plan you choose. Part D plans have what is called a “Donut Hole”. Once the total cost of your retail medication(s) reaches $2,970 for the year, then you will pay the full amount of your medications until you have paid a grand total of $4,750 out of pocket (and then catastrophic coverage picks up most of the cost thereafter). There is assistance available to you while you are in the “donut hole” that will provide you with discounts (approximately 50% savings off of brand name drugs and approximately 20% savings off the lower cost generic medications.
- Medigap Insurance is a supplement to Medicare Parts A and B that can cover all of the gaps in Medicare Parts A and B or offer you a plan where you will only pay copayments for services.
Where do you find details about Medicare? You may contact the Social Security Administration at 800-772-1213 to enroll or ask questions about whether or not you are eligible. You may also visit www.socialsecurity.gov.
Carol Winwood RHU, REBC