Medicare is a topic that is often talked about on television, especially during election time. But you may be wondering what it is and whether you qualify for it. The quick answer is yes — if are 65 years old and have paid into the Social Security system. However, the following are a few things you should understand about Medicare insurance.
It is an entitlement program
Medicare is part of the Social Security system. If you have paid into the system, you will likely qualify for Medicare. But there are certain minimum standards that must be met to get this insurance, just as there are for collecting Social Security. However, the vast majority of people who have paid into Social Security will qualify for Medicare.
Social Security should not be confused with Medicaid
Whereas Medicare is an entitlement program, Medicaid is a welfare program. As a welfare program, no one is entitled to benefits. You must qualify for it. Medicaid is means-tested for income and assets.
There are two types of Medicare
The first is traditional Medicare. This is divided into Parts A and B. Part A pays for bills in the hospital while Part B covers outpatient treatments, including doctor visits. This type of Medicare does not pay 100 percent of your bills. It will pay approximately 80 percent, and you will owe the rest. For this reason, there are supplemental policies sold by private insurance companies to cover much of this. There is also a Part D that is optional. This covers part of your medications. The other type of Medicare is called Medicare Advantage or Part C. This is an all-in-one Medicare that covers everything. Although, it should be noted that there are still premiums, deductibles, and copayments, depending upon the specific plan.
You must enroll in Medicare
Although most Americans qualify for Medicare, you do have to sign up for it. There is an enrollment period, and you must sign up during this time. This window is three months before your 65th birthday and three months after your birthday. If you miss this window, there is an annual Medicare enrollment that starts the first of the year and runs through the end of March. But if you wait for this enrollment period, you will see a delay in your benefits. If possible, try to sign up before you turn 65.
To learn more, contact a Medicare insurance provider.