Health Insurance – Understanding Medicare

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Medicare is a federal program that provides health insurance to senior citizens irrespective of their medical condition. You can only qualify for Medicare if you are 65 years and above. Medicare would automatically register people who were receiving social security benefits once they reach the age of 65. People who decide not to retire at the age of 65, are also eligible, all you need to do is register.

If you would be automatically registered into Medicare; Social security administration would send you notification, some months before your 65th birthday. Most people qualify for both social security benefits and Medicare by the time they are 65 years old.

What kind of coverage does Medicare provide?

Medicare coverage is made up of 3 parts. Medicare A which is hospital insurance, Medicare B is medical insurance while Medicare C is the Medicare plus choice. This is the program that allows you to from different types of health care plans.

Medicare A- hospital insurance

This is the part that covers the cost of in-patient care. When you have to stay overnight at the hospital, nursing facility or psychiatric hospital, the hospital insurance takes care of the cost of nursing care, hospital room and meals. It also covers home health care and hospice care.

Medicare B- Medical insurance

This is the part that covers the care you receive from a doctor, whether you were an in-patient or an out-patient. It also covers ambulance services, physical therapy and rehabilitation and laboratory tests.

Medicare C- Medicare plus choice

This is the part of the plan that gives you choice of the type of health care you want. In 1997, the Balanced Budget Act expanded the types of private health care that could offer Medicare benefits. They now include medical savings account, managed care plans and private fee-for-service plans. This was in addition to the other fee-for-service options that were available under the Medicare A and Medicare B.

Before you make up your mind however on which type of plan would suit your needs, visit several insurance sites and find out which one gives you the best blend of quality service and affordability.

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