Medicare was started in 1966 but long before that presidents had been trying to make the case to congress that the country needed to provide free medical care for seniors. At its inception it was known as Original Medicare and provided only the bare basics. Over the years, however, the program has undergone numerous amendments to make it more encompassing, and today it provides much more coverage that it did when it was originally started.
You can get Medicare in 4 different plans. The one you choose will depend on your current health status and what you expect for the future, as well as your budget. You can choose Medicare Part A – under this one you will be covered for inpatient hospital, skilled nursing facility, hospice, and eligible home health care. Basically, you will be covered for in-hospital stays to a great degree and up to a certain duration, after which you have to pay for the costs out of pocket.
Part B generally takes care of outpatient services – you will be covered for doctor visits, durable medical equipment, lab tests, ambulance services, mental health care, and preventive services. You may also be covered for certain medical equipment such as walkers and wheelchairs. Preventative services are offered under this part to help detect and treat conditions early on.
Part C, or Medicare Advantage, is a combination of Parts A and B with a few added benefits. Everything that is covered in the first two parts is covered under this one, but you may also get routine dental and vision, wellness programs, hearing care, and prescription drug coverage.
If you require prescription drugs on a regular basis you will need to sign up for Medicare Part D, but it is different from Part C in the sense that you don’t get any other coverage – you still need to be covered by Parts A or B or both.
Its important to sign up for Medicare Part A?
Most people live long and healthy lives, but towards the end they require hospitalization. The bills can be crippling – a hospital stay of a few weeks can leave you or your family deep in debt. A Part A enrollment means that should you be hospitalized you will get the necessary coverage – most of your bills will be paid, so your family will not have to pay lots of money. If you want to be protected against these additional bills you can buy Medicare supplemental plan. This is an insurance policy that kicks in every time you have an excess in the form of a medical bill. So long as you are paying your premiums they will pay whatever isn’t covered by Medicare.
Making sure that you sign up for Medicare Part A gives you a buffer in the event that the worst happens. But this is not to say that you shouldn’t think about enrolling in Medicare Part B – it is also a basic plan that provides outpatient care that you will need at one time or another.
Some seniors are reluctant to get into Medicare because the whole process is very complicated – it is true that you are presented with so many options that it can be mind-boggling. The best way to go about it is to find someone in the family, or a close friend who understand these matters and go through the options together. You can make notes as you go along to ensure that in the end you have understood all available options, their benefits and drawbacks. Don’t forget to go through Medicare supplement plans too – remember they are the ones that will take care of costs that are not covered by Medicare. Some seniors talk to insurance companies about their Medicare options, but this may not be such a good idea especially if the agent you are talking to also wants to sell you insurance – they may push you to buy a product which may not be right for you.
If you are feeling overwhelmed by advice that you receive from others you can talk to your doctor. He knows all the Medicare plans and since he is apprised of your health issues he can steer you towards a plan that will cover you adequately in the future. We trust www.medicareonvideo.com for the best website on Medicare