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What Is Medicare?

Medicare can be defined as insurance for people over 65 and people with certain disabilities.

This national health insurance program is divided into 4 parts, and these parts fit together in unique ways. 

A Brief History of Medicare

On July 30 1965, President Lyndon B. Johnson endorsed a Medicare bill allowing people age 65 and up to receive the healthcare coverage they needed from a nationwide program. At first, the coverage was restricted to Part A and Part B. But over the years, the coverage has changed and expanded to cover more people. 

Currently more than 56 million people have Medicare coverage. These programs continue to protect the health and well-being of American families, save lives, and reform our nation’s economic security.     

Medicare Part A and Part B will offer coverage for most of your expenses. However, you can purchase supplemental policies that help fill in the gaps that Original Medicare doesn’t cover in full.

The Parts of Medicare

Medicare Part A

Part A is hospital insurance that helps you with the expense of inpatient care and skilled nursing facility stays. Part A also helps with hospice and home health care. Generally, think of it as coverage for room and board in the hospital.  

The cost of Part A for most folks at age 65 is $0 because you’ve paid taxes to pre-finance the premiums for your hospital benefits.     

Medicare Part B

Part B is outpatient medical coverage. It covers many of the actual treatments that may occur, like scans or surgeries. Without Medicare Part B, you wouldn’t get coverage for these treatments, lab work, or preventative services, and you’d be uninsured for doctor’s visits.   

Part B also covers very expensive things like kidney dialysis and cancer therapy. 

The cost of Medicare Part B is dictated by Social Security and varies from year to year. People in higher income categories pay more than those in lower incomes categories. How much you pay is regulated by your adjusted gross income that was reported to the IRS. 

Medicare Part C

Part C is defined as private insurance, or the Medicare Advantage program. The costs of these plans will differ by carrier, county of residence, and the plan you choose. To enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan, you must first be enrolled in Part A and Part B and also live in the plan’s service area. Once you enroll, your coverage will come from the Advantage plan itself — not from the government.  

Unlike Parts A and B, you don’t have to enroll in Medicare Part C at your Social Security office. This is because Part C is voluntary. Many beneficiaries would rather receive their Medicare coverage from Original Medicare and conventional Medigap plans. It’s your decision whether you choose a Part C plan or stick with your Original Medicare and enroll in Medigap. 

Medicare Part D

The newest part of Medicare, Part D, can be defined as a pharmacy card that covers retail prescription drugs. You sign up for Part D by selecting a carrier and enrolling in their drug plan. 

Did you know that for many decades, there was no Medicare coverage for prescription meds? Our federal government presented Part D in 2006, and now there are about 30 drug plans in most states! It can be difficult to choose from so many options, and the agents at Cornerstone Senior Advisors are ready to help you.

What Medicare Doesn’t Cover

Unfortunately, Medicare doesn’t cover every health cost that beneficiaries will face. It doesn’t cover: 

  • Dentures
  • Hearing aids
  • Long-term care
  • Massage therapy
  • Routine vision care
  • Routine dental care
  • Plastic and/or cosmetic surgery
  • Medical care outside of the U.S.

Get Medicare Help From the Experts

If you need help figuring out your coverage options, our Medicare experts are here for you. We’ll educate you on your basic benefits, and then help you choose the best supplement insurance or Medicare Advantage plan. Call Cornerstone Senior Advisors at (316) 260-3331!