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Taking the Mystery Out of Medicare

If you’re nearing retirement age, or are over 65 and still working, you may have questions about Medicare. Read on for some important information you may need to know.

What Is Medicare?

Medicare is health insurance for people who are age 65 or older, under 65 with certain disabilities or any age with End-stage Renal Disease (permanent kidney failure).

Types of Medicare

Did you know that there are four types of Medicare? Let’s review them.

Medicare Part A helps cover inpatient care in hospitals, skilled nursing facilities, hospice and home health care. Generally, there is no monthly premium if you qualify and paid Medicare taxes while working.

Medicare Part B helps cover medical services like doctors’ services, outpatient care and other medically necessary services that Part A doesn’t cover. You need to enroll in Medicare Part B and pay a monthly premium determined by your income.

Many people also purchase a supplemental insurance policy, such as a Medigap plan, to handle any Part A and B coverage gaps.

Medicare Advantage Plans, also known as Medicare Part C, are combination plans managed by private insurance companies approved by Medicare. They typically are a combination of Part A, Part B and sometimes Part D coverage, but must cover medically necessary services. These plans have discretion to assign their own copays, deductibles and coinsurance.

Medicare Part D is prescription drug coverage and is available to everyone with Medicare. It is a separate plan provided by private Medicare-approved companies, and you must pay a monthly premium.

Getting Started

Medicare sends you a questionnaire about three months before you’re entitled to Medicare coverage. Your answers to these questions, including whether you have group health insurance through an employer or family member, help Medicare set up your file and make sure your claims are paid correctly.

Also, create an account on Medicare.gov to access your information and keep track of claims. If you want your family or friends to be able to call Medicare on your behalf, fill out an Authorization Form to allow them to do so.

Medicare and Small Business Owners

If you currently provide health insurance to the employees of your small business, I am sure you are aware of the impact of employee ages to premiums. Most people are pleasantly surprised by the cost and benefits associated with Medicare and supplement plans. Typically, they offer significantly lower out of pocket expenses for very reasonable premiums. We always recommend those who are still working to thoroughly compare the costs and benefits of their employer plan to Medicare before assuming one is a better option than the other. FBN

 

By Ed Gussio

 

If you have additional questions regarding the types and costs for Medicare plans, feel free to contact the Benefit Logic / Crest Insurance Group professionals at 928-526-5691 or stop by 2321 N. 4th St. Flagstaff, AZ.

 

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