Medicare 101: Understanding the basics

Medicare was launched in 1965 and makes available economic and health protection for people age 65 and older and for people under 65 years of age with permanent disabilities or if they have Lou Gehrig’s disease or end-stage renal disease. Today, practically all senior citizens are covered by Medicare whereas back in 1965 approximately 50% of seniors did not have medical coverage.

Medicare contributes payments for numerous health care services including, but not limited to, doctor charges, hospital charges and even prescription drugs. People supply money through payroll tax deductions to Medicare throughout their working career and then normally become qualified for Medicare at the age of 65, in spite of their wealth or health. Medicare is a fantastic benefit to people that qualify.

Medicare Parts Explanation
Part A assists with payment for your patient care while you are in the hospital. Part A also assists on payments for home health care, skilled nursing service and hospice if you meet definite guidelines.

Part B is the medical coverage part of Medicare. It assists with payment on services that are medically necessary like physician’s charges and outpatient care. Part B will also assist you in paying for a number of preventive services to preserve your health and to prevent you from getting sicker from certain illnesses.

Part C is also identified as Medicare Advantage. This is an additional method to obtain your Medicare benefits. It unites Part A, Part B and at times, Part D (prescription drug) coverage. Medicare Advantage Plans are administered by private insurance groups endorsed by Medicare. These policies must cover services that are medically essential. On the other hand, policies can charge diverse deductibles, copayments or coinsurance for these services.

Part D (Medicare Prescription Drug Coverage) assists in paying for prescription medicine. This benefit could assist you to reduce your prescription medicine expenses and defend against higher expenses in the future.

Medicare Advantage
Medicare Advantage Plans are health policy options that are part of the Medicare plan. You normally obtain all your Medicare covered health care through that policy if you join one of these plans. Advantage Plans are capable of consisting of prescription medicine coverage.

Some types of Medicare Advantage Plans are:

Medicare Health Maintenance Organization (HMOs)
Preferred Provider Organizations (PPO)
Private Fee for Service Plans
Medicare Special Needs Plans

You use the insurance card that you get from your insurance carrier for your health plan when you join a Medicare Advantage Plan. The benefit is that you normally receive lower copayments and additional benefits in most of the Advantage Plans than you would under the typical Medicare Plan. You might have to utilize physicians and hospitals that belong to the plan.

Medicare Supplement Plans
In spite of the significant protection offered by Medicare, there are numerous gaps in Medicare’s benefit plan. If you have the typical Medicare Plan, you might want to purchase a Medicare Supplement Plan, also termed Medigap coverage.

Medicare does not pay for some moderately costly services and supplies that are frequently essential for seniors and people that are disabled.

Additional Information
On August 27, 2008, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) delivered a Press Release publicizing the delivery of information summarizing the outcome for the 2008 Medicare Contractor Provider Satisfaction Survey (MCPSS).

The survey showed that the satisfaction of beneficiaries across all contractors was 4.51 (on a scale of 1 to 6). CMS determines that such scores indicate that beneficiaries continue to be satisfied with the services provided by Medicare fee for service contractors.

A healthy life is a superior life. Medicare endeavors to make certain you are able to acquire the health care and prescription coverage you require and the quality of care you are worthy of.