Everything You Need to Know About Medicare Insurance

What is Medicare?

Medicare is a federal health insurance program in the United States that provides coverage to people over 65 years old, as well as some younger individuals with specific disabilities or end-stage renal disease. Established in 1965, Medicare has been a cornerstone in ensuring that millions of Americans receive the medical care they need without facing insurmountable financial burdens.

Medicare consists of different parts, each designed to cover various aspects of healthcare:

  • Part A: Hospital Insurance. Covers inpatient hospital stays, care in a skilled nursing facility, hospice care, and some home health care.
  • Part B: Medical Insurance. Covers services from doctors and other healthcare providers, outpatient care, durable medical equipment, and some preventive services.
  • Part C: Medicare Advantage. Offers an alternative to Parts A and B, provided by private insurance companies approved by Medicare.
  • Part D: Prescription Drug Coverage. Helps cover the cost of prescription drugs, offered by private companies approved by Medicare.

Who Qualifies?

To qualify for Medicare, you generally need to meet one of the following criteria:

  1. Age: Be 65 years or older.
  2. Disability: Be under 65 but have received Social Security disability benefits for at least 24 months.
  3. End-Stage Renal Disease: Have permanent kidney failure requiring regular dialysis or a kidney transplant.

Additionally, you must be a U.S. citizen or a legal permanent resident who has lived in the U.S. for at least five consecutive years.

When Can You Enroll?

The Initial Enrollment Period for Medicare begins three months before you turn 65 and ends three months after your birthday. It is crucial to enroll during this period to avoid late enrollment penalties.

Other enrollment periods include:

  • General Enrollment Period: From January 1 to March 31 each year, with coverage starting on July 1.
  • Special Enrollment Period: If you have group health plan coverage based on your current employment (or your spouse’s employment), you can enroll without penalties during the Special Enrollment Period, which lasts for eight months after your group health coverage or employment ends, whichever comes first.

Types of Plans Available for Beneficiaries

Original Medicare (Part A and Part B)

  • Part A: Covers inpatient hospital stays, care in a skilled nursing facility, hospice care, and some home health care.
  • Part B: Covers services from doctors and other healthcare providers, outpatient care, durable medical equipment, and some preventive services.

Medicare Advantage (Part C)

Medicare Advantage, also known as Part C, is an alternative to Original Medicare offered by private companies approved by Medicare. These plans must cover everything that Original Medicare covers and often provide additional benefits such as dental, vision, and hearing coverage, as well as wellness programs and gym memberships.

Prescription Drug Plans (Part D)

Part D helps cover the cost of prescription drugs. These plans are offered by private insurance companies and can vary in terms of coverage, formulary (list of covered drugs), and costs.

Medigap (Medicare Supplement Insurance)

Medigap is additional coverage you can purchase to help pay for some of the costs that Original Medicare does not cover, such as copayments, coinsurance, and deductibles. These plans are offered by private insurance companies.

Differences Between the Plans

  • Original Medicare vs. Medicare Advantage: Original Medicare allows you to go to any doctor or hospital that accepts Medicare, while Medicare Advantage may require you to use a specific network of providers. Medicare Advantage also often includes additional benefits not covered by Original Medicare.
  • Medicare Advantage vs. Medigap: Medicare Advantage is an alternative to Original Medicare with additional benefits, while Medigap complements Original Medicare by covering out-of-pocket expenses. You cannot have both a Medicare Advantage plan and a Medigap plan at the same time.

Copayments and Premiums for Original Medicare

Part A

  • Premiums: Most people do not pay a monthly premium for Part A if they have paid Medicare taxes for a certain number of years (usually 10 years or more).
  • Deductible: For each benefit period, you must pay a deductible. In 2023, the deductible is $1,632.
  • Copayments: Depending on the length of your hospital stay, you may have to pay additional copayments. For example, from day 1 to day 60, there is no copayment after the initial deductible. From day 61 to day 90, the copayment is $400 per day.

Part B

  • Premiums: The standard Part B premium in 2024 is approximately $174.70 per month, but it can be higher depending on your income.
  • Deductible: The annual Part B deductible in 2024 is $240.
  • Coinsurance: After meeting your deductible, you generally pay 20% of the Medicare-approved amount for most doctor services, outpatient therapy, and durable medical equipment.

Navigating Medicare plans and options can be complicated and overwhelming. That’s why at Lesdo Insurance, we are here to help. Our team of experts is dedicated to providing you with the guidance and support you need to find the Medicare plan that best fits your needs and budget.

We offer free consultations to help you understand your options, answer your questions, and guide you through the enrollment process. Don’t face the complexity of Medicare alone; let the experts at Lesdo Insurance assist you in making informed decisions and maximizing your benefits.

Contact Lesdo Insurance Today!

For free, personalized guidance on Medicare plans, contact us today. We are here to help you protect your health and your future. Your well-being is our priority.