by Lauren Mandel
Are you preparing to celebrate your 65th birthday? Has it already come and gone? Congratulations! You now qualify for Medicare.
But what exactly is Medicare? What are your coverage options? And why do you need it? We take a look at four basic facts you need to know before enrolling in Medicare coverage.
Different plans cover different benefits.
So what are your different Medicare insurance options?
Original Medicare – or Parts A and B – covers hospital and basic medical care. Once you turn 65, you will most likely be automatically enrolled in Part A.
Medicare Supplement – or Medigap – plans can help you pay for some health care costs not covered by Original Medicare.
Medicare Advantage – or Part C – is a private insurance option which covers the benefits of Parts A & B. Many Medicare Advantage plans also offer prescription drug coverage.
Lastly, a prescription drug plan – or Part D – offers coverage for different prescription medications.
The basics are required to move forward.
If you think you might want Medicare Advantage, you must first have Original Medicare, or Parts A & B. While you’ll likely be automatically enrolled in Part A once you turn 65, many individuals must actively enroll in Part B.
Medicare is different than Medicaid.
They might sound similar and both start with the letter M, but Medicare and Medicaid are very different programs. We’ve already established that Medicare is health insurance coverage for those over age 65. Medicaid is a federally-funded health insurance program mainly for individuals and families with low incomes. Pregnant women and people with disabilities may also get coverage through Medicaid.
Note your needed prescription drug coverage.
Medicare Part D offers different plan options that cover different prescription medications. If choosing a Part D plan, make note of which prescriptions you or your loved ones will need in the near future. Medicare Advantage might also offer some prescription drug coverage, so it’s important to review your specific needs before choosing between Part D plan options and Medicare Advantage.
Medicare has neither reviewed nor endorsed this information. We intend for this information to be an educational resource.