Things You May Not Know About Medicare

More than 50 years ago, the federal government established programs designed to help Americans pay for health care, called Medicare and Medicaid. Because both programs involve a lot of factors, they can fast become a bit complex. To provide information on how coverage works, here are six facts you may not know about Medicare Advantage plans.

  1. Medicare and Medicaid offer many of similar services, however to different people. Medicare provides services for people 65 and older and with other eligible conditions, while Medicaid is a program for low-income Americans based on their financial needs. The government continues to evolve and expand programs to adapt to the ever-changing health environment.
  2. Medicare coverage is made up of four parts. Each part insures different aspects of medical bills. When searching Medicare, you may come across the term “original Medicare”. This refers to what is now known as Part A & Part B.
  • Part A is the part of hospital insurance, which covers hospitalized patient stays in hospitals, specialized nursing facilities, palliative care centers, and sometimes also home care services. Depending on your situation, you may automatically enroll in Parts A and B or you may need to register.
  • Part B covers among other related expenses: physician visits, durable medical equipment, home health care and preventive services.
  • Part C (Medicare Advantage plans) provides Part A, Part B and, generally, coverage of drugs controlled by private insurance firms. You have to be registered in Part A & Part B before you can receive Part C coverage.
  • Part D includes outpatient coverage for prescription drugs by private insurance firms. You must be registered in Part A or Part B before you can receive Part D coverage.
  1. Every person can sign up for Medicare eventually. Now, there are 3 different times you can apply for Medicare Parts A & B:
  • Initial application period: After you are 65, you can apply within three months on each side of your birthday month.
  • General Registration Period: If you do not register during the initial registration period, you will have the option to register each subsequent year from January 1 to March 31.
  • Special Enrollment Period: You can start Medicare at any age if you have a condition that qualifies you. A condition which qualifies may include certain cancers, disabilities, or end-stage disease. After the initial enrollment period has expired, you may sign up for Medicare during a special registration period due to a qualifying event, such as departing from current coverage or losing employer coverage.