In July 30, 1965, a momentous event happened when the Social Security Act of 1965 was signed into law by President Lyndon B. Johnson as revisions to the existing Social Security legislation. The Act includes two very important provisions: Medicaid and Medicare. The latter, being the topic of this article, is a health insurance program given by the government of the United States of America to its citizens. The program covers people who are 65 years old and below and even those who are under 65 years old but with physical disabilities or congenital disorders. Medicare enrollment is easy as long as required documents are provided. In general, people who are 65 years old and above are entitled for the health insurance program given that they have been residents of the country for five years or more. People under 65 years old but with disabilities and disorders can be worthy to the program as long as they show their Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits. SSDI is a government-funded program, which provides additional income to those who are restricted to work because of their physical disability. Medicare enrollment is also open to people who have serious medical conditions such as kidney failure and cancer. There are different parts of Medicare where one can enroll in. Medicare Part A provides inpatient care, skilled nursing facility care, hospice care services, home health care services, hospital fees, some minor tests, and food. Most people already paid their Medicare taxes when they were still working. Medicare Part B, on the other hand, gives help to patients who necessarily need the doctors’ services, outpatient care, and home health service. In some cases, it also covers preventive services for serious sicknesses. Part B also covers the tests and services like pneumonia and influenza vaccinations, blood transfusion, kidney dialysis, organ transplantation, chemotherapy. Part B also provides equipment for seriously-ill or impaired people by giving canes, strollers, wheelchairs, and prosthetic equipment such as prosthetic limbs, artificial breast and even eyeglasses after eye surgery. Medicare enrollment is also possible for Part C and Part D. Basically, Part C is also called the Medical Advantage Plan and can be received as part of one’s membership in Medicare. The advantage plan provides help for the services needed in both Part A and B like the tests, home health services and also other wellness program for vision, dental and hearing. Finally, Part D is another plan in Medicare that offers plan for prescription drug. This part, also known as Medicare Prescription Drug Coverage gives the patient help in getting prescribed drugs at a lower price. These are the benefits one can get if he or she decides to enroll in Medicare. Application for Medicare is available in the nearest health center in your area or through online. To apply, one has to be at least 64 years old and 8 months old, do not have any Medicare coverage, and live in the United States or one of its territories. Health is wealth, so apply now and receive health benefits.
In one way, senior citizens are very lucky. They have a lot of choices about how they will cover their health care. On the other hand, the different types of Medicare which range from A to D, and the different levels of Medicare supplements, which range from A to L, can bring a virtual alphabet of complexities to that choice. You must understand that I do not believe there is one right health insurance plan for everybody. Medicare beneficiaries, like everybody else, have different needs. A person has to consider their choices, while also looking at their own health situation, budget, expectations, and the available plans in their area. First look at original Medicare, a program that has been around for almost 50 years. Nowadays, retired and disabled people consider it a right, but when it began it caused as much debate as health insurance reform does today. It consists of two basic parts: A and B. Part A is called hospital insurance, though it covers some other things. Most seniors qualify for Part A without having to pay a premium. Part B, on the other hand, is sometimes called the medical insurance part. It provides coverage for many outpatient services, not least of which, are regular doctor’s visits. Both parts of the original plan require the enrolled person to pay of of their medical bills. You will find deductibles, copays, and limits. So the orginal plan was not intended to pay 100% of medical bills, but it was intended to help seniors control their medical costs. Medicare Part C is now called Medicare Advantage. These are plans that private insurers get approved by the government, and that are supposed to provide more comprehensive care than the original plan. Sometimes they require an additional premium, but some do not. Some Medicare Advantage (MA) health plans will even rebate all, or part of, the enrollees Part B premium. These plans may also include deductibles and copays that the enrollee must pay out of their own pocket, but they will also have a yearly limit on out of pocket expenses. They must provide service that is equal to the original part A and part B, and of course, they should be better. Medicare Part D is the newest plan, and it was developed to cover prescriptions. Like other plans, it does not cover 100% of medical expenses, but it should help enrollees reduce their costs. Some plans are sold as stand-alone insurance, while some are bundled with MA plans. Medicare supplements are different than Medicare Advantage plans, and they should not be confused. They will come with a monthly premium, and that amount will depend upon the applicant’s zip code, age, plan level, and other factors. There are certain times when seniors and disabled people can enroll without having to go through an underwriting process, but not all of the time. So you can see that seniors have many options. There are hundreds of combinations of different health and prescription plans. The right choice will depend upon a person’s own individual situation.