My Medicare & Medicaid Enrollment and Coverage
Medicare would be a great way to pay for rising health costs like doctor visits and prescription drugs, if only it wasn’t so difficult to understand. Part A, Part B, Part, C, Part D. Is Medicare a play or health insurance? Medicare has confusing applications, different enrollment dates and deadlines, and detailed qualifications.
How can you begin to take advantage of Medicare if you can't figure out how it all works? Here’s an easy-to-understand breakdown of what Medicare is and how it can benefit you.
What is Medicare?
Former President Harry S. Truman became the first Medicare beneficiary in 1965. Since then, Medicare has continued to provide health insurance to people who are over 65 and some under 65 with disabilities and certain diseases. The federal government implemented Medicare to help citizens like you better afford health care.
Video: What is Medicare?
What are the Benefits of Medicare?
With Medicare coverage, your medical costs are drastically reduced. You can receive many routine checkups, preventive services, prescription drugs, and even hospital stays and only pay a portion of the cost of your own pocket.
If you are already receiving Social Security or railroad retirement benefits, you probably qualify to receive part of your Medicare benefits for free.
There are two ways you can receive your Medicare benefits.
The Original Medicare Plan is a fee-for-service plan that covers a number of health care services and certain drugs. Fee-for-service means that, in exchange for a low monthly premium, you make a co-payment for your medical services. You can visit any doctor that accepts Medicare as long as you show your card and make the required co-payment.
Medicare Advantage Plans cover more services and have lower out-of-pocket costs compared to the Original Medicare Plan. Some Medicare Advantage Plans even cover prescription drugs. But, some of the plans only allow you to see certain doctors or visit certain hospitals.
Overview of the Medicare Parts
Part A is hospital insurance that helps pay for any inpatient care you receive in a hospital or skilled nursing facility. It also covers some home health care and hospice care if you are terminally ill.
Part B is medical insurance and covers many of the medical services that aren’t covered by Part A, like doctor’s services.
Part C is the Medical Advantage Plan that combines both Part A and Part B usually with additional services. Part C is offered through Medicare-approved private insurance companies.
Part D is prescription drug coverage that helps pay for medications prescribed by your doctor.
Video: Medicare Supplements vs. Medicare Advantage
What is Medicaid?
Though the two have similar names and provide assistance with medical bills, Medicare and Medicaid are two different types of insurance. Medicaid is run at the state level and provides medical coverage for certain individuals who have a low income and little or no resources. Eligibility and coverage rules for Medicaid are made at the state level. It’s possible to qualify for both Medicare and Medicaid.
Using Medicaid to Cover Medicare Costs
If you qualify for Medicaid, you can use it to help pay some of your Medicare costs. For example, if you are enrolled in both programs, nearly all your health care costs will be covered even if you are in a Medicare Advantage Plan. Medicaid may also pay for some services that Medicare doesn’t cover at all, like nursing home care.