Medicare is a government health insurance program administered by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). Medicare is the largest health insurance service in the country, with around 49 million Americans participating. To be eligible you must be a citizen of the United States and meet certain requirements. If you are not a citizen of the United States, you can contact the Social Security Administration office to learn if you would be eligible.
Can you answer yes to at least one of the following statements?
• I am 65 years of age or older.
• I am under 65, but I have certain disabilities.
• I have End-Stage Renal Disease
(kidney failure that requires a transplant or dialysis).
If so, then you are likely to be eligible for Medicare benefits.
Medicare is basically broken down into two main categories: the “Original Medicare Plan” and the “Medicare Advantage Plan.” Each category is made up of four sub-categories: Part A, Part B, Part C and Part D.
The Original Medicare Plan
The Original Medicare Plan consists of Part A. You do have the option of adding Part B and D. You will automatically be enrolled in the Original Medicare Plan unless you specifically choose to join a Medicare Advantage Plan (Part C).
The federal government manages the Original Medicare Plan. It operates on a fee-for-service plan. Most people pay a deductible and then a co-pay or co-insurance.
Medicare Advantage Plan
The Advantage Plan or Plan C combines your Part A and B coverage, but is provided by private insurance companies. You have the option of adding Part D if coverage is not already included. Advantage Plans include HMO, PPO, private fee-for-service plans, and Medicare special needs plans.
How Can I Cover Additional Expenses?
Original Medicare Plans do not cover everything. Costs that you may incur include co-insurance, co-pays, deductibles, etc. These costs are called gaps. To help cover these costs you might want to buy a Medigap policy.
Another option is Medicaid. Medicaid is a combination of federal and state programs to help cover medical costs. Eligibility depends on your income as well as the ability to meet specific requirements.