Medicare is the Federal program offered to individuals age 65 and better, and to those under 65 who are disabled.
Bare Bones Definition: Medicare is an 80/20 plan where the Unites States Federal Government provides 80% of all health care costs for those in the program.
Part A: Hospital
Part B: Medical Needs – outside of the hospital
Part C: Medicare Advantage (allowing a private insurance company to manage your care in exchange for a lower premium and different benefits)
Part D: Prescription Drug Coverage (The Federal Government DEFINES the coverage, but does not provide financial support in most cases.)
Now here are the “FUN” things you may not have known:
1 – Did you know that just because you have employer provided insurance, and are 65 or better, your coverage MAY NOT qualify for the Part D – Prescription Drug requirements? Many employees are on high deductible health plans, or plans with trimmed-down Rx coverage and these do NOT meet the requirements for Part D. If this is the case, when you do purchase a Part D plan, you will pay hefty penalties for not having “creditable coverage” when you were first eligible at age 65.
2 – Did you know that if you are an American Citizen eligible for Medicare and live in a foreign country that has “socialized” care, you NEED to sign up for Part B and pay for the coverage – even if you are not using it! If you do not sign up, when you come back, you will be considered a “late entrant” with delays in availability and penalties. This can be appealed, but it is difficult at best to reverse.