Senior Affair Magazine
What is Medicare?
Medicare is a government program that provides health insurance to cover medical costs for people aged 65 and older. Medicare is the federal health insurance program for: People who are 65 or older. Certain younger people with disabilities. People with End-Stage Renal Disease.
Medicare is a broad program of health insurance designed to assist the nation's elderly to meet hospital, medical, and other health costs. Medicare is available to most individuals 65 years of age and older.
A Medicare Advantage is another way to get your Medicare Part A and Part B coverage. Medicare Advantage Plans, sometimes called "Part C" or "MA Plans," are offered by Medicare-approved private companies that must follow rules set by Medicare.
Part A covers inpatient hospital stays, care in a skilled nursing facility, hospice care, and some home health care. What Medicare covers is based upon, Federal and state laws, National coverage decisions made by Medicare about whether something is covered, local coverage decisions made by companies in each state that process claims for Medicare. These companies decide whether something is medically necessary and should be covered in their area.
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is the federal agency that runs Medicare. The program is funded in part by Social Security and Medicare taxes you pay on your income, in part through premiums that people with Medicare pay, and in part by the federal budget.
Once you have become Medicare-eligible and enroll, you can choose to get your Medicare benefits from Original Medicare, the traditional fee-for-service program offered directly through the federal government, or from a Medicare Advantage Plan, a type of private insurance offered by companies that contract with Medicare (the federal government).
Is Medicare free?
For most individuals, Medicare Part A is free, due to their payment of payroll taxes under the Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA). Individuals can also qualify for free Medicare Part A due to the work history of a spouse. If an individual does not qualify, then they will have to pay a premium for Medicare Part A. Other types of Medicare require a premium payment.
If you want Medicare prescription drug coverage (Part D) with Original Medicare, in most cases you will need to actively choose and join a stand-alone Medicare private drug plan (PDP). It is important to understand your Medicare coverage choices and to pick your coverage carefully. Everyone who has Medicare receives a red, white, and blue Original Medicare card. If you choose to receive your coverage through Original Medicare, you will show this card when you get services. If you choose to receive your Medicare benefits through a Medicare Advantage Plan, you will still get an Original Medicare card but you will show your Medicare Advantage Plan card when you get services. No matter how you get your Medicare health benefits, only give your Medicare number to your doctors and health care providers.
Medicare Advantage Plans may also offer prescription drug coverage that follows the same rules as Medicare Prescription Drug Plans. Keep in mind, you may owe a late enrollment penalty if you go without a Medicare Prescription Drug Plan (Part D), or without a Medicare Advantage Plan (Part C) (like an HMO or PPO). Medicare is not a welfare program, and should not be confused with Medicaid. The income and assets of a Medicare beneficiary are not a consideration in determining eligibility or benefit payment. Medicare is a national program and procedures should not vary significantly from state to state. You can visit our website to know more about Medicare.
What is the difference between Medicare and Medicaid?
Both Medicare and Medicaid are administered by the same federal agency, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Medicare is a federal health insurance program for people 65 and older, or younger than 65 if they have a disability. Medicaid is a joint state and federal program that provides health insurance coverage to people with very low incomes.