Four Things You Should Know About Medicare As You Approach The Age Of 65

If you are approaching the age of 65 and have paid into the Social Security system, then you will be eligible for Medicare insurance. This is very good health coverage, and you should take advantage of enrolling when the time comes. However, there are a few things you should understand about it.

Traditional Medicare

There are two basic choices for Medicare. The most common is referred to as Medicare Parts A and B. This is traditional Medicare. Part A covers your hospital stays while Part B is for outpatient care, which may include outpatient surgeries. Medicare will not pay for all of your medical bills. With outpatient care, it will usually pay about 80 percent, but this is only a rule of thumb. It will depend upon the procedure or the medical device needed. In some cases, it will not cover it at all. For example, it will not pay for hearing aids.

Supplemental policies

Because traditional Medicare does not cover all of your medical bills, there are supplemental policies that you can buy when you enroll in Medicare. Sometimes called Medigap policies, they are sold by the private sector, but they are defined by the government, and private sector insurance companies compete on price. There are several different plans available with different letter designations. The most basic plan is designated as A. Other plans have more coverage. If you want a supplemental policy, your rates will not be affected by preexisting medical conditions, but you need to buy a policy when you enroll in Medicare.

Traditional Medicare doesn't cover medications

For this reason, there is Medicare Part D. This covers prescription drugs. You must be enrolled in Medicare Part A or Part B, or both. In addition, you will need to be living in the Medicare Part D service area that you want to enroll in. In many areas of the country, there will be more than one service plan available, and the benefits, as well as prices, can vary.

Medicare Advantage

This is the alternative to traditional Medicare. Also known as Medicare Part C, this type of Medicare covers more of your medical bills than traditional Medicare, so a supplemental policy is not necessary. It also covers covers prescription drugs, so you don't need Medicare Part D. In addition to this, Medicare Advantage covers many things that traditional Medicare does not cover. Hearing aids are a good example of this. And many doctors who will not accept traditional Medicare will take Medicare Advantage. The down side is that the premiums are higher than traditional Medicare.

Ultimately, you need to decide on what is best for you, but do not wait until the last minute. Do your research ahead of time, so you will know all of the important aspects of Medicare as it pertains to your health.