Medicare 101

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Medicare 101: Four Significant Elements You Need to Know about Medicare Coverage
Many refer to Medicare 101 as the basics; this is simply an overview of what you need to know about Medicare coverage. Such information is important for anyone considering enrolling in the federal government health coverage program. The government pays a portion of your health care through plan options designed to provide coverage for different areas of your care. People with specific diseases, disabilities and aged 65 and over receive these benefits annually which include millions of Americans.
A Breakdown of Medicare’s 4 Parts: A, B, C and D
People interested in receiving this coverage learn about its 4 parts. Each part has a specific purpose in paying for health care support and services.
• Part A helps cover home health care, skilled nursing facilities, hospice care and hospital stays.
• Part B covers screenings, doctor visits and preventative care.
• Part C or Medicare Advantage Plans, is a plan option that allows patients to choose their coverage options through private companies.
• Part D covers prescription medication.
Medicare helps cover some costs associated with health care, but people have additional options to help cover what Medicare does not pay through Medicare supplement plans or Medigap. However, this option cannot be used with Part C.
How Much Are You Required to Pay for Coverage?
Medicare 101 includes understanding potential costs related to your health plan. How much you pay for coverage will depend on your health plan choice. In some cases it may depend on age if you are under the age 65. There are a number of factors that help determine this but you review them when you enroll for coverage. Part B has costs related to out-of-pocket expenses and deductibles, yet Medigap may help cover such costs. Medigap itself has a premium you pay monthly.
Depending on your plan you may have to a copay, deductible, or coinsurance. You may also have to pay related costs to Part D drug coverage depending on the drug. You will learn costs associated with your plan of choice during open enrollment. Your monthly income may also play a role in how much you pay each month for premiums.
Medicare 101 and Open Enrollment: Getting Signed Up for Coverage
Medicare enrollment for eligible people runs from October through December or sometime during the end of the year. This period is referred to as Medicare Open Enrollment. This is when you access your needs for the following year. You do this as you review and select plan options. You can also sign up for drug coverage. This enrollment period is important since changes may occur during the year for some plans.
Stay Informed about Your Coverage: Where to Get More Information
You can learn more information about your health care coverage options through sources such as government websites (Medicare.gov), your state health insurance program, and if you receive other forms of health coverage through a union, your employer or other government benefits, they are another point of contact for you to obtain additional information.

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