Medicaid, Medicare, Medi-Confused?

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Easy answers to your health coverage questions 

July 30, 1965. A great day to be a senior adult in America. On that day, President Lyndon Johnson signed the Medicare and Medicaid health plans into law. Harry Truman was on hand to receive the very first Medicare card — rather appropriate since the former president was the first to propose national health insurance way back in 1945.

But now it’s your name on that red, white, and blue card. So what benefits are you entitled to? Read on to find out. 

The ABCs of Medicare.

The four parts of this health care plan cover medical expenses for people who are over 65 or have special health conditions. 

  • Part A will pay for expenses like inpatient care in a hospital, hospice, or a skilled nursing facility. If you paid into the Medicare system for at least 10 years while you were working, Part A coverage is premium-free. But don’t forget about the annual deductible.

  • Part B covers outpatient care like doctor visits, flu shots, and some screening tests. You’ll pay an annual deductible as well as monthly premiums. If you receive Social Security, your Part B premiums will be deducted from your check. If you don’t get Social Security yet, you’ll get a monthly Medicare Premium Bill instead.

  • Part C includes Medicare Advantage plans. These are managed-care plans that pay for everything covered by traditional Medicare, which includes parts A and B, along with extra benefits like vision, dental, and hearing. You can choose either a Medicare Advantage plan or traditional Medicare — but not both. Want traditional Medicare but still need extra coverage? You can always add a Medigap policy, also known as Medicare supplement insurance, to help fill in the gaps.

  • Part D is your prescription drug coverage. Harry Truman didn’t have the option to sign up for this part of Medicare, but you do. You can choose from a number of different drug plans, but you’ll have to pay an average premium of $34 per month.

  

To find out more about your benefits and what you’re entitled to, visit Medicare.gov and Medicaid.gov.

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  • FC&A Staff Writer