In 1965, the American government decided to come up with a plan that will help seniors of 65 years old and older to enjoy coverage in the healthcare domain. In other words, if you are 65 years old or above and you have a health issue, Medicare will help you with the financial load that comes along, or, at least, with a part of it, depending on the plan you will choose. In 1972, the Medicare plan was modified to a certain degree so that young people who suffered from permanent disabilities to enjoy the support offered by the plan. Of course, these cases are analyzed and only the ones that meet the requirements will be accepted into the program. The Medicare plan has four parts, A, B, C, and D, each of them taking care of a certain sector and being funded in a different manner.
In order to be part of the Medicare plan, you will have to sign up and choose one of the previously mentioned plans, whichever you consider most suitable in your case. Just do have in mind that each part of Medicare has costs as well, besides the benefits it offers. So, you will have to cover these costs, being eligible to take advantage of the benefits of this plan once you will have 65 years old. In other words, it is another aspect you need to consider for your retirement plan. The truth is that it is recommended to contribute to a healthcare-related plan while you are young and capable of working because it may turn out extremely useful if you get ill at an older age.
If you are interested in Medicare, then you need to know that enrollment is possible only when you are close to turning 65 years old. More precisely, you can subscribe to a Medicare plan three months before reaching the age of 65, on your birthday month, and three months after your birthday. These 7 months are known as the Initial Enrollment Period. So, make sure you apply during this period if you want to be considered eligible. It is recommended to subscribe in the three months prior to your birthday because once you turn 65, the services provided by Medicare will begin on the very first day you have 65 years old. If you miss doing this, then the services will become available three months after your subscription, as long as you do it in the first three months after your birthday.
But, if you forget to get enrolled during the Initial Period, don’t fret, as you still have the General Enrollment Period. This takes place between the 1st of January and 31st of March of every year. If you subscribe to Medicare during this period, then your plan will become active starting on the 1st of July only and there are chances for you to have to pay higher premiums. Also, for special situations and particular requirements, there’s the possibility to apply during the Special Enrollment Period. If your case meets the requirements of Medicare, then your plan will become available in one month after sending your completed application to Social Services.
Why choose Medicare? Well, with the help of Medicare copay, for example, you will be able to get the needed medical services, treatments, and everything else you will need if you get sick or dealing with a health problem. Now, you probably wonder how Medicare services are funded. Because when we work we contribute with 1.45% from our revenues to the Federal Insurance Contributions Act and our employees pay an additional 1.45% in the same direction, all this money goes into Medicare through Social Security Administration. Thus, you enjoy a whole 2.9% invested in Medicare. Just, do have in mind that if you are working on your own and you are, therefore, self-employed, you will have to cover the entire 2.9% on your own. Still, some of the costs involving the use of Medicare could be billed to you, depending on the plan you choose and medical services you require.
Having said all these, let us take a closer look at each of Medicare’s plans and see what benefits, and costs, they offer. Medicare Part A, which is considered one of the basics, will offer the support you need in case you will require hospitalization. This part of Medicare generates no costs, so you can consider it free, the only requirement being to have contributed to Social Services for at least 10 years. Medicare Part B will take care of visits to the doctor’s office and other expenses, as physical therapy and medical equipment, if the case. It also includes screenings to prevent the occurrence of some diseases, such as diabetes, glaucoma, and certain cancers. For this particular plan, there is a monthly premium that has to be covered. In 2017, the basic premium for Part B was around $120, but it can be more depending on your yearly gross income or if you and your spouse file together for Medicare, a situation in which your incomes will be joint.
Medicare Part A and B are supported by the government through its healthcare providers, but if you opt for Medicare Part C, also known as Medicare Advantage, is provided by private healthcare providers that have contracts with Medicare. According to the law, Part C must provide at least the healthcare services offered by Part A and B, but they do differ according to the case. So, some may offer more than what A and B are offering, while others may offer more of what A provides and less of the B plan and the other way around. So, it is worth checking what Medicare Advantage is actually offering, as not all of them covers prescription drugs, for example. Finally, there is Medicare Part D, which was specially created to cover prescription drugs. You can add this part to your original Medicare plan, to some Medicare plans that involve costs, to some plans with Private-Fee-For-Service, and to medical savings account plans. Just do know that plan D is a separate document that you get from a private insurance provider. If you opt for it, you will have to pay a monthly premium, as a general rule, and may get some annual deductibles, which usually don’t exceed a few hundreds of dollars. Also, this plan will cover only the first $3,310 spent on drugs per year. If that’s enough for you, then you’re okay, but if not, you will have to pay for the remaining costs out of your pocket.
So, as you can see, with Medicare, you will be able to get medical services according to your needs. While opting for Part A seems more than obvious, choosing the rest of the plans remains your choice only, depending on the costs you can withstand out of your budget per month. Whether you will enjoy Medicare copay or have medical services entirely covered by your plan, every little help counts. It always best to have at least a part of your healthcare services covered because, as we all know, old age comes along with a variety of health problems, unfortunately. This is why it is reassuring to have a safety plan in handy, just in case you need it. Just do take the time to take a good look at all your options, so you can choose the one that will suit you best. For this, it would be ideal to start in a timely manner, so by the time you turn 65, your chosen plan or plans will start working for you.
We all know that medical services are expensive, so why worry whether you will afford them or not. Medicare and its Medicare copay system were created precisely out of the desire to help people access quality and affordable medical services. So, because health and finances are two rather sensitive parts of our lives, it is worth making the decisions that will protect both of them in the best way possible. This is why since its appearance, millions of Americans became members of the Medicare plan and enjoyed the best medical services available in the US. Even if you are nowhere near the age of 65, it is still worth understanding how Medicare works and get into more details concerning the plans it has to offer. So, when the right time will come, you will know what to choose. Of course, don’t hesitate to revise what the plans are offering by the time you will be close to 65 years old, as some details concerning the plans may be subjected to changes. It is really not worth managing all the costs of the medical services you need when you can enjoy the Medicare copay system, plus the free medical services this healthcare plan offers.
Another aspect you need to consider is the Medigap or Medicare Supplement, which is an additional insurance policy that will cover the parts Medicare doesn’t. You see, while Medicare offers a lot, there are certain services that may be missing. Thus, as a precaution method, people will opt for an additional insurance policy. This will be provided, of course, by a private insurance provider. This policy will also cover the expenses generated by your Medicare plan, like annual deductibles and co-pays. Still, if you opted for Medicare Part C or Medicare Advantage, then having this policy won’t help as it won’t cover it. Also, if you plan to pass to Medicare Advantage and you already have Medigap, then it would be recommended to let Medigap go, as it won’t bring any benefits.