The population in the United States is growing older. That means that every year, more people become eligible for the health insurance plan known as Medicare. While most people have heard of Medicare, not everyone understands how it works and how it is different from a traditional insurance company. Here is some information about Medicare that was compiled by the Motley Fool.
Most people become eligible for Medicare when they hit the age of 65. If a person suffers from certain disabilities or diseases (Lou Gehrig’s disease, end-stage renal failure) are eligible to get long term disability insurance through Medicare. To qualify, you need to be a citizen of the United States or have lived in the country legally for at least five years. The amount that people have to pay for the benefits they receive will depend on a number of factors such as the number of years they worked and how much they contributed in payroll taxes, which go to fund the Medicare system.
There are different subsets of Medicare. These are typically referred to as Parts A, B, C, and D. Medicare Part A covers most hospital stays and inpatient hospital treatment. Medicare Part B takes care of doctors’ appointments and any outpatient medical services a person needs. Medicare Part C is also referred to as Medicare Advantage which is a Medicare supplement insurance. If you want this, you need to work through a private insurance company. Medicare Part D was passed through under President George W. Bush and handles prescription drug benefits.
The amount people pay for Medicare Part A is dependent on how many years they spend paying payroll taxes. People who worked in jobs for one decade or more paying into the payroll tax system, you will get Medicare Part A at no charge. For the people who do not meet the criteria, the charge can be anywhere from $232 or $422 each month for this coverage. There are a number of facilities that are covered under Medicare Part A. They include hospitals, nursing care facilities, and hospice care. There may be a deductible for care at these places.
Medicare Part B does have fees associated with it. Much like the fees charged by a private insurance company, even if you have paid payroll taxes for ten years or more, you can expect to have a premium to pay every month. Those fees average about $134 per month for 2018 but for people who have more funds, the charge can be as high as $428.60 each month. This additional charge kicks in if they make more than $160,000 each year (single tax filers) or $320,000 (joint tax filers), Medicare Part B is generally there for routine appointments with doctors and preventative treatments. There is often a 20% copayment that is required when treatment is received.
Medicare Part D, which covers prescriptions is a different kind of thing altogether. People need to work with a private insurance company on this part of the Medicare plan. The price tag associated with the different options can vary quite a bit. Plans at the lower end of the price spectrum cost less but cover fewer drugs. They also may have copays and deductibles that are higher. People who have a higher income can expect to pay more here as well. A typical prescription plan can cost them up to about $75 more a month. If you know you need certain medications every month, it is important to talk to your insurance company to make sure they cover what you take.
There are things that are not covered by any of the parts of the Medicare plans. Many do not even cover services they do support at 100%. A lot of people who rely on Medicare also get supplemental insurance plans also called Medigap insurance plans to make sure they have the coverage they need when they need it. These plans can cost something up front but can greatly reduce what people have to pay on their own.
Since the 1960s, when Medicare was first developed and implemented, it has been one of the most popular government programs that helps people. President Lyndon Johnson signed the act that created it on July 30, 1965.