Did you know that there are a total of 50.7 million medicare beneficiaries, as of 2012? Medicare is a social insurance service available to individuals 64 or older who are eligible for social security payments. The average benefit per enrollee is about $12,000.
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010, among other things, made changes to the Medicare program, which has in many cases resulted in lowered prices. Are you new to Medicare and not sure where your options lie? Here are three basic facts for sorting it all out.
1. What is the Difference Between Medicare and Medicaid?
Although they are similar terms and were both enacted in 1965, these are different things. Medicare is for seniors over the age of 65 and for people with disabilities; Medicaid is the U.S. health program for low income families. Medicare is already available to qualified individuals regardless of income or past medical history.
2. Why are People Talking about Medicare Parts A and B, and C and D?
Basically, each part indicates certain coverage. Part A covers inpatient hospital stays. Medicare will cover the majority of costs up to a 60 day stay, for example; only one co-pay of about $1,000 is required at the beginning. Part B helps pay for services and products not covered by A. B includes everything from diagnostic tests to chemotherapy. Part C is medicare advantage plans; this is where beneficiaries can choose to receive benefits from private health insurance instead of through A and B. If you have part A or B, you are eligible for part D, and this is the plan for prescription drugs.
3. Why do People Choose Medicare Advantage Programs?
Depending on your needs, Medicare Advantage can sometimes offer certain benefits to enrollees that they would not receive through the original medicare program. Some plans, for example, offer vision, dental, or other services not covered by A or B. If a plan pays less than Medicare for some services, the savings are often passed on in the form of things like lower co-pays for doctor visits. 13.1 million people, or about 26%, opt for Medicare Advantage premiums.
What are your thoughts about Medicare Advantage premiums?