If you are receiving social security benefits, and will be turning 65, you will receive a letter welcoming you to Medicare, as well as information from companies trying to solicit you to join their Medicare Advantage Plan. With the passing of the new Health Care Reform Bill, you may be somewhat perplexed as to what this bill means to you as a Medicare recipient. It can be very daunting trying to decipher all of this information. If you are looking forward to receiving Medicare, the process is not as difficult as one might think. Of course, information is constantly changing. Nevertheless, for now, this article pertains to people who will start getting Medicare in 2011.
When you turn 65, you will be joining the 44 million Americans who have health care coverage from Medicare, the Federal Health Insurance Program managed by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. Medicare coverage includes Part A (Hospital Insurance), Part B (Medical Insurance), Part C (Medicare Advantage Plans), and Part D (Medicare Prescription Drug Program).
If you are receiving Social Security retirement or disability benefits, you will be automatically enrolled in Medicare Part A and Part B and receive a card showing the date on which your coverage will begin. There is no charge for Part A, but you will have to pay a monthly premium for Part B. This monthly premium will be taken out from your social security benefits. However, you do not have to keep Part B. If you choose to keep Part B, you will have to decide how you want to get your Medicare coverage. You also have the option not to have Medical Insurance. Because you are entitled to Part A, you will receive a new card showing that you have Hospital Insurance only. For Medicare premium, deductible and coinsurance rates go to http://www.medicare.gov.
Part C, namely HMOs (Health Maintenance Organizations) or PPOs (Preferred Provider Organizations), is an option that combines Part A, Part B and generally Part D coverage through private companies approved by and under contract with Medicare. Some of these plans offer dental, and vision coverage. In order to join a Medicare Advantage Plan, you must have both Part A and Part B. If you decide not to join a Medicare Advantage Plan, you will probably get your Medicare health coverage through Original Medicare. For additional information, go to http://www.medicare.gov.
Part D, (Medicare Prescription Drug Program), provides you with a choice of prescription plans that offer various types of coverage. You can get this coverage through private companies approved by and under contract with Medicare or through a Medicare Advantage Plan, which provides drug coverage. You may also be eligible to receive extra help to pay for the monthly premiums, annual deductibles, and co-payments related to this plan.
Your Medicare coverage will give you access to thousands of health care providers and hospitals across the country. You will also have different options on how to receive your Medicare coverage. If you decide to participate in the Medicare Advantage Plan, you can enroll online, by phone or make an in-person appointment. For more information, call 1-800-MEDICARE.
There is an open enrollment period, whereby you may pick any Medicare carrier. If you miss enrolling during this period, you may have to pay a late enrollment fee.
The Health Care Reform has a site that provides valuable information on private insurance plans, public programs and community services, which are available to you. For more information go to http://www.healthcare.gov.
The type of plan you choose will depend on various factors. You will have many choices, but only you can decide which plan will work best for you. Be cautious. If someone calls claiming, he or she can help you pick a plan for a fee, hang up, and never give out your social security number to anyone who calls you unexpectedly. For more details, go to www.ssa.gov/medicare.