You’ve probably heard about Medicare, but you may not know what it is exactly. Our government created Medicare so people age 65 and older would have access to health insurance. Medicare also provides health insurance to people who are under the age of 65, but who have permanent kidney failure, Lou Gehrig’s disease, or certain disabilities.
Medicare is an important program that helps cover people’s healthcare costs. It does not however, cover all medical costs, nor does it cover long-term care (most cases). How does Medicare get the funds to pay for the program? Most of the costs are paid through payroll taxes deducted from workers’ pay checks, and another portion comes from monthly premiums, which are deducted from people’s Social Security checks.
Four Parts of Medicare
Medicare is broken down into four parts: Part A, Part B, Part C, and Part D.
- Medicare Part A: This is hospital insurance, which goes towards inpatient care, whether it’s in a hospital or skilled nursing facility. It can also help pay for hospice care and home health care.
- Medicare Part B: This part covers medical insurance; it goes towards services provided by doctors and other healthcare providers. It also helps pay for home healthcare, outpatient care, and durable medical equipment.
- Medicare Part C: This is called Medicare Advantage and it includes the benefits and services that are covered in Part A and Part B. Some of the plans also cover prescription drugs.
- Medicare Part D: This is “Medicare prescription drug coverage.”
Note: Often, people think that Medicare and Medicaid are the same; however, they are actually different programs. Medicaid is run by states individually, and it provides coverage to individuals with a low-income. Some people actually qualify for Medicaid and Medicare.
Are You Receiving Social Security Disability?
Suppose you are under the age of 65, but you are receiving Social Security Disability benefits. You may be entitled to Medicare Part A if any of the following is true:
- You have been receiving SSD benefits for 24 months.
- You are receiving SSD benefits because you have been diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s disease.
- As a government worker, you’ve worked long enough and paid Medicare taxes, and you have been receiving SSD benefits for at least 24 months.
- You’re at least 50-years-of-age, and you’re a widow(er) or divorced widow(er) and your spouse worked for the government long enough to pay Medicare taxes, and you meet the Social Security program’s requirements.
- You have been diagnosed with permanent kidney failure and you meet the requirements for Medicare.