Medicare

Turning 65 or New to Medicare?

Medicare is the federal health insurance program for persons age 65 and older as well as certain disabled individuals. In 1965, Medicare was enacted to provide a “safety net” of health-care coverage for qualifying individuals.

Medicare is health insurance for:

  • People 65 or older
  • Certain people under 65 with disabilities
  • People of any age with End-Stage Renal Disease (ESRD) (permanent kidney failure requiring dialysis or a kidney transplant)

Medicare is packaged in two major parts. Part A is hospital insurance protection. It covers hospitalization, some hospice care, and a limited amount of post-hospital skilled nursing and home health care. Part B, which is medical insurance, helps cover physicians’ services, outpatient hospital care, physical therapy, diagnostic tests, and a variety of other services. More recently, Medicare added Part D, prescription drug coverage.

Part A

Part B

Part D

  • Inpatient care in hospitals
  • Skilled nursing facility care
  • Hospice care
  • Home health care
  • Services from doctors and other health care providers
  • Outpatient care
  • Home health care
  • Durable medical equipment (wheelchairs, walkers, hospital beds)
  • Preventive Services like screenings shots and wellness visits
  • Helps cover the cost of prescription drugs
  • Run by Medicare-approved drug plans that follow rules set by Medicare
  • May help lower your prescription drug costs and help protect against higher costs in the future

 

At first glance, it appears that Uncle Sam has everything covered. But unfortunately, there are many limitations.

Medicare Costs

Every time you go to the hospital, you have to pay a certain amount of your hospitalization costs, unless your visits are separated by fewer than 60 days. If that’s the case, you pay the deductible only the first time. If you stay in the hospital longer than 60 days, you will be required to pay a copayment every day for days 61 through 90.

You also have a lifetime reserve of 60 days that can be used in conjunction with more than one extended stay. These days also have an associated copayment. Medicare won’t cover any stays longer than 90 days once you have depleted your 60-day reserve.

Your Medicare options

 When you first enroll in Medicare and during certain times of the year, you can choose how you get your Medicare coverage. There are 2 main ways to get Medicare:

 

Original Medicare

  • Original Medicare includes Medicare Part A (Hospital Insurance) and Part B (Medical Insurance).
  • If you want drug coverage, you can join a separate Part D plan.
  • To help pay your out-of-pocket costs in Original Medicare (like your deductible and 20% coinsurance), you can also shop for and buy supplemental coverage.

 

Medicare Advantage (also known as Part C)

  • Medicare Advantage is an “all in one” alternative to Original Medicare. These “bundled” plans include Part A, Part B, and usually Part D.
  • Some plans may have lower out-of-pocket costs than Original Medicare.
  • Some plans offer extra benefits that Original Medicare doesn’t cover— like vision, hearing, or dental.

 

WILL MEDICARE PAY FOR SKILLED NURSING CARE?

Medicare will pay for the first 20 days of skilled nursing care, but only after you’ve been in the hospital for three days. This means you’ll have paid at least the deductible for that three-day stay. From the 21st day through the 100th day, Medicare will cover some of the costs of skilled nursing care, but you still have a copayment. After 100 days, Medicare will not pay for skilled nursing care, and you must bear the full cost. The 100 days are per benefit period.

WHAT ABOUT MEDIGAP?

Medicare supplemental insurance, or “Medigap,” is designed to pick up where Medicare stops. As such, it usually pays the deductibles and copayments required by Medicare. Coverage will vary according to the benefits outlined in each specific policy.

Medigap insurance may not pay for any additional procedures that aren’t specifically addressed by Medicare. Most policies will only help to cover the deductibles and copayments imposed by Medicare.

WHAT ABOUT LONG-TERM CARE?

Medicare provides only limited coverage for skilled nursing care and pays for only up to 100 days of care following a three-day hospital stay. Medigap doesn’t fill the gaps in this coverage.

If you are concerned about meeting your potential long-term-care needs, you should look into additional insurance to help fill in the gaps. In many cases, it may be best to consider purchasing a private long-term-care insurance policy to help protect against these potentially devastating costs.

 

Call Now (201) 342 3300 to discuss your options and receive assistance with your Medicare application!