For most people who have lived and worked in America for 10 or more years, Medicare is the most affordable health insurance
option. You may qualify for Medicare if you:
- are 65 or older OR
• have a disability that has qualified you for social security OR
• have been diagnosed with End-Stage Renal Disease (ESRD) (permanent kidney failure requiring dialysis or a kidney transplant)
There are several Medicare plans. Part A (Hospital Insurance), Part B (Medical Insurance), Part C (Medicare Advantage), Part D (Prescription Medication Insurance), and various Medigap supplemental plans (covers other services such as dental).
You should choose two options for these parts to create a plan that covers all your healthcare needs:
Plan 1: Part A, Part B, and Part D
Plan 2: Part C only
What are the different parts of Medicare?
Part A helps cover inpatient care in hospitals, hospices care, and some other facilities.
Usually, you don’t pay a monthly premium for Part A coverage if you or your spouse paid Medicare taxes while working for 10 or more years. If you must pay a premium, Part A costs $411 a month.
Enrolling in Part A is enough to avoid the Obamacare tax penalty for not having health insurance. In 2016, this penalty cost $695 per adult and $347.50 per child, for a maximum of $2,085. However, changes may be underway regarding this policy.
Part B covers outpatient services from doctors and other health care providers, some preventative care and some home health services.
Most people pay the standard monthly Part B premium, which is usually $121.80. If your income is higher than average, you may have to pay more, up to $389.80.
Part D covers prescription medication. Premiums cost between $10 and $100, although if your income is higher than average, you may have to pay more.
Part C (Medicare Advantage) is run by Medicare-approved private insurance companies and provides the same coverage as Parts A and B at a minimum, with some extras depending on the plan. Although Part C plans cost less than Parts A, B, and D plans, fewer doctors may accept them and they may have higher out-of-pocket costs and more complicated procedures. Part C plans are not recommended if you frequently see the doctor.
If you qualify for the benefits of Medicare, you can sign up in the 7-month Initial Enrollment Period when you first become eligible. If you do not enroll during your Initial Enrollment Period and choose to sign up later between January 1st and March 31st every year, you must pay a late enrollment penalty, a 10% increase in premium costs, which will remain in effect relative to how long you chose not to enroll.
The longer you choose not to enroll in Medicare, the more it will cost! If you are eligible for Medicare, consider it today!
Find out more about Medicare here: www.medicare.gov/
Or come to PCDC during walk-in hours, Monday and Wednesday, 10:30 AM to 4:30 PM.