What Is Medicare?
Medical coverage provided by Medicare can take care of most common medical expenses. We are going to answer the question of what is Medicare and how you can sign up for it, if you are interested and eligible.
What Medicare Does
Medicare provides medical insurance for people who are 65 and older as well as for those who have end stage renal disease or who are under 65 and have certain disabilities. If you think you may be eligible for Medicare but are not sure, you may contact a Medicare agent to find out. Applying for Medicare does not cost anything, and you only have to pay the monthly premiums once you have agreed to one of their plans.
Medicare can cover a wide range of medical expenses, and what it covers depends on which medical plan you go with. There are four separate parts to Medicare, and each one covers different medical expenses. Let’s look at them.
Part A– This covers a lot of your hospital expenses. It takes care of much of the cost of your hospital stay, blood usage, lab tests, surgeries and more.
Part B– With this plan, you’ll be covered for most outpatient expenses, which are medical care costs that are for services in which you spend little time in the hospital. They include doctor’s visits, medical research, checkups, ambulance services and more.
Part C– This plan combines parts A and B and includes further coverage as well, namely for emergency and urgently needed healthcare services. It can also include coverage for other medical expenses as well, but this is optional and left up to the insurance companies that sell this plan. Part C plans are also known under the name Advantage plans.
Part D– With this plan, you’ll be covered for prescription drug expenses. Part D can be included in Part C sometimes, depending on which insurance company you buy your plan from.
Supplement Plans– These are not a part of Medicare but provide addition coverage that may prove useful to these with a lot of medical expenses to pay. Like Part C, these are only available through private insurance companies.
Signing Up for Medicare
It’s fairly simple to apply and be approved for a Medicare plan. If you are buying your plan through Medicare directly, you are generally limited to Original Medicare, which is a combination of Medicare Part and Part B. These are usually sold together, since they complement one another so well.
Part C is sold separately, though it can include Part D. This is one you have to buy through private insurance companies. If you want Part D or supplement plans, then you have to get those through private insurance providers as well. The cost of the plans will vary based on what kind of coverage you are getting, which state you are buying the plans in and what company you are buying them from.
If you are lost and wondering what is Medicare, then you need to know about signing up for Medicare plans and about eligibility. Once you are 65, you should be able to sign up for any of the plans you wish. The best time to sign up, however, is during Open Enrollment, which comes around once every year, but at a slightly different time each year. You can check the dates for the upcoming year or current year to find out if you will be eligible for Medicare during Open Enrollment.
Once you sign up, you have to stick with the same plan until your term is expired. Most terms last for a year, but you can choose a longer term, if you like. It may be possible to cancel your plan and even sign up for a different plan before the term for the current plan has expired, but that’s often difficult to do and quite costly. It’s best to just wait out the term and change plans then.
How to Choose the Right Medicare Plan
If you are 65 or older, then you can probably benefit from Medicare’s coverage. You can get the kind of plan you want and have your medical expenses mostly or completely covered by medical insurance. It’s up to you which plan you choose, and if you qualify for one of them, then you probably qualify for all of them.
Medicare plans do change from time to time, and you need to make sure that you know exactly what you are getting and how much it costs. The price of the plans and their premiums can change as well, so be sure you have up-to-date information before you sign up for a plan.
You have to take your own needs into consideration as well. Look at how much you are spending on medical care and compare that to what the Medicare plans are offering you. Then choose the one that most closely lines up to what your needs are right now. You may also want to try for a coverage cushion- in other words, getting some additional coverage beyond what you need right away.
Even if you have Medicare, you can sign up for additional Medicare plans or change your current plan, if its term is expired. You should check your coverage needs every so often (about once a year) and see if you would benefit from a change in coverage. You may be able to save money by switching plans and choosing something with a bit more or less coverage than what you currently have.
We hope this has answered your questions about what is Medicare, but if you have further questions, you may want to talk to a Medicare agent. If you believe you qualify for Medicare, you should look into these plans and what they have to offer, as they may be able to save you a lot of money on your medical care each year. There are few other medical insurance plans that are as robust and as affordable.