Learning About Medicare...

(I believe these were my great or great-great grandparents on my mother's side. Isn't his mustache the best?)

For the next part in my series about becoming a caregiver, I figured I would give you a rundown on Medicare. I am still learning about co-pays and what not as I go, but I have done some research to help.
Medicare is the federally funded health insurance program that was started in 1965 that is for anyone 65 or older, certain young people with disabilities, and people with end stage renal disease. There are 4 different parts to Medicare-

Part A- Hospital insurance. This covers hospital stays, hospice care, stays in nursing homes and some home health coverage.

Part B- Medical Insurance- This covers certain dr's services, outpatient care, medical supplies and preventive services.

Part C- These are your Medicare Advantage plans. This is provided through private insurance companies to pick up what Medicare does not pay.

Part D- Prescription Drug coverage

Now when you become eligible for Medicare, you should take note that it does work like other health insurance in that you will have co-pays and deductibles. Also when you enroll, you automatically enroll in part A but can turn down part B. Part A does not have any premiums but Part B does. And Part D is so complicated, that the website even tells you to consult an expert.
Basically, from what I have experienced, this is how it works. Until you reach your deductible, like regular insurance, depending on what services are rendered, you may have to pay the entire bill. After the deductible has been met, you will have to pay 20%. (They do the 80%-20% like most insurances.) If you have the means, you should definitely look into the Part C coverages that are available. These will pick up the 20% that Medicare does not pay.
There are also programs for the low income bracket. If you qualify, which is the income limit is at or below the federal poverty level, you do not have to pay the deductibles or premiums.
There are a ton of websites out there to help you learn about Medicare and it's intricacies. Of course, we are dealing with the government, so there is a ton of paperwork and red tape associated with it. This is just a beginner's introduction to the lovely world of it. If you are a caregiver, you should become familiar with what parts your family member has, what are their deductibles and premiums, and if they have supplemental coverages. Keep all this information in a file folder with all the other information that I had outlined in my first post in this series. You can find that on this page.


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