If you are over age 65 or are younger with certain disabilities, then you may qualify for Medicare health insurance. Like Medicaid, Medicare is much cheaper than private insurance, and sometimes, it is even free. If you receive Social Security benefits, then you are automatically enrolled in Medicare.
If you do not receive Social Security benefits and you would like to apply for Medicare, you will need to complete a form available through the Social Security Administration website. When you first become eligible for Medicare, you can sign up during the 7-month period that includes the following:
- The 3 months before you turn 65
- The month that you turn 65
- The 3 months after you turn 65
With Medicare, you can choose the coverage you need. There are the four parts of Medicare that you can choose to cover you. These are known as Parts A through D.
The first is Medicare Part A. This Part is considered “Hospital Insurance.” It will cover hospitalization services. Many Medicare enrollees do not need to pay premiums for Part A.
Next is Medicare Part B. This Part is considered Medical Insurance. It covers services like doctor visits, outpatient therapy and durable medical equipment. Most enrollees pay a standard premium amount for Part B. Be aware that “Original Medicare” refers to a policy that includes both Parts A and B.
Medicare Part C is also known as “Medicare Advantage plans.” Part C is an alternative to having Part A and B. It covers the same services as Part A and B, but it is administered by a private insurance company rather than the federal government. Some Part C plans offer additional covered services, such as vision.
Finally, there is Medicare Part D. This Part covers prescription drugs and can be bundled together with other Parts of Medicare.
In addition to these main parts, you can also enroll in a Medigap plan, also called “Medicare Supplement Insurance.” As its name suggests, Medigap helps fill coverage gaps in Original Medicare with additional covered services.