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What you need to know about Medicare

Medicare is a government health insurance program. You become eligible for Medicare as soon as you turn 65-years-old. Figuring out which Medicare parts to apply for may be daunting. There are Part A, Part B, Part D, Medigap and Medicare Advantage plan options. Each plan covers different care expenses.

Who qualifies for Medicare?

Anyone 65-years-old or older that has legally entered and resided in the United States for at least five years. Medicare also applies to individuals of any age that have permanent kidney damage.

Medicare Basics

Part A covers hospital expenses and is free for individuals that paid Medicare costs annually. Part B is referred to as medical insurance. This covers additional expenses needed to treat medical conditions. It requires a monthly premium. With both plans, you have deductibles, prescription costs, copays and coinsurance expenses.

The Medicare Advantage plan is a private insurance plan that combines both Part A and Part B insurance into one plan. It may also include hearing, vision, dental and prescription drug coverage. Part D insurance is an added buy-on to Part A or Part B Medicare, that covers prescription drug costs.

When enrolling for Medicare, you will have to decide if you want Medicare Part A and Part B only, if you want to combine them with Part D or if you want the Medicare Advantage plan that covers hospital costs, other medical expenses, prescription costs and hearing, vision and dental costs.

Additional things to know

If you do not sign up for Medicare as soon as you are eligible, you may have to pay a penalty fee when you do enroll. In order to avoid the fee, you may want to apply for Medicare three to five months before you turn 65.

You will pay more for Medicare coverage if you have a high income. Medicare recipients that have a joint income of $170,000 or more, will pay between $200 and $450 per month for Part B insurance whereas individuals with joint income less than $170,000 pay approximately $130 per month.

Medicare insurance is a great option for many people. If you are unsure which option is best for you, seek guidance—don’t miss out on the benefits of Medicare.

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