Medicare for beginners

There are many things that confuse people in life and Medicare seems to be one of those things. There are multiple parts of Medicare and the benefits they bring to people. Medicare part A is not the same as Medicare part B. Where did Medicare part C and D come from? When people begin hearing these terms, it is very easy to get lost and not know where to turn to for help or an explanation.

What is it? How do people get it?

Simply defined, Medicare is a health insurance program that is overseen by the Federal government. There are different ways to qualify for Medicare but these are the most common ways: people have to be 65 years of age or older, people with certain disabilities if they are under 65 years of age and people of any stage with ESRD, end stage renal disease. Those that may qualify for Medicare can go to Medicare's website to verify and apply for the insurance or go to their local Social Security office to apply.

It's active, now what?

When people are approved and begin to receive their Medicare benefits, there is a lot of paperwork and different things that will come in the mail. One of the first things that should come in the mail is a thin, red, white and blue card. That is the official Medicare card. People should be very careful not to lose that card or allow people access to that. When it comes in the mail, there are some important things to note on the card. Make sure the name is spelled correctly. Unfortunately, there can be some spelling issues with names at the Social Security office so people should be sure they have the correct spelling of their name. Their Medicare claim number will also be on the card. This is a number that should look familiar because it may be a variation of their social security number or their spouse's social. This is why it's important not to allow people easy access to this card.

There are two pieces of information on the Medicare card that many people should see. On the card, people will see hospital, part A and medical, part B with the effective dates. This is important because this will tell people what they are receiving coverage for with Medicare insurance. If there are any pieces of information that is missing or listed incorrectly on the card, it is very important to call the social security office or Medicare directly.

When people first begin actively using Medicare coverage, they should take their card to their doctor to make sure they have the new insurance information on file. This lets the doctor's office know where to send their claims for payment.

Medicare Part A, B, C, D? Oh my.

There are multiple parts to Medicare that have very simple explanations. When people see they have Medicare part A and B on their Medicare card, they often wonder what it is.

Medicare part A is hospital insurance. This will help to pay for inpatient hospital care. It also is important because if a beneficiary needs to be admitted into a nursing home, hospice or needs home health care, they would help cover the costs of that care as well.

Medicare part B is medical insurance. This is the insurance that the doctor's office wants to make sure their patients have. This is the insurance that the doctor's office will bill for their services. Part B helps pay for medical equipment if it's necessary, home health care, outpatient care and doctor's services.

Medicare part C is a little also called Medicare Advantage plans. This can be a little confusing for some people because this steps outside of the official Medicare realm. The Medicare Advantage plans are offered by private insurances. These private insurance companies will essentially take over the administration of those benefits. This is an entirely different conversation and should not be explored without further research.

Medicare part D is for prescription drugs. This is the insurance that will pay for the medicines that the doctor prescribes. This is an insurance that is provided by a private company and has to be enrolled separately.

Calm Down. It's Okay.

There are many different parts of Medicare that can be explored and need answers to. Each section of Medicare has an explanation that can be had and deserves attention. As new enrollees have questions, there are specific places that can answer the questions. To have questions answered, Medicare enrollees can call Medicare or Social Security directly.

Apr. 18 12'

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