Medicare is a government program that helps provide healthcare for 65 and older. It is mainly given to ensure that people have enough to cover the cost of their medical bills before they face bankruptcy. Medicare has two parts: Part A and Part B.
The major difference between the two is that Part A (hospital insurance) covers most of your hospital and nursing home bills, while Part B does not. Medicare supplies the money you will use to pay them. Medicare Part A will only pay for hospital care if you are admitted as an inpatient.
It also covers some skilled nursing facility care after you have been hospitalized and have to go to a nursing home or rehabilitation center. Part A also pays for hospice services. You may receive lifetime coverage, which is good financial planning because your beneficiaries may not have to worry about paying your bills later.
What Should Know About Medicare
Before you apply for Medicare, it is important to be aware of the following two things.
You must be an American or permanent resident of the United States. Your citizenship status will be verified when you apply for Medicare. If you are not a United States citizen and you receive Medicare, it will be terminated if your status changes to a non-citizen. Some visa-holders may qualify for Medicare, such as those with a work visa (H1B). If your spouse is a non-citizen, they still may qualify for benefits.
People who want to enroll in Medicare should apply no more than three months before they turn 65. If you do it any later, you will have to wait until the following year. You can also benefit if you are disabled or have end-stage renal disease.
Medicare does not charge for basic coverage. However, there is a premium that most people pay to help cover the cost of Part B. If you want to learn more about Medicare cost, visit this page.
The premium for Part B is the same for everyone. It will depend on how many people are enrolled in your household and their income. Generally, it is $1,147 per year for those over 65 or disabled. Enrolling in a Medicare health plan through a private insurance company can avoid paying the premium. You may consider this if you have other health coverage and cannot afford to pay for your medical bills.
How Do you Apply for Medicare?
There are three ways to apply for Medicare:
1. Apply Online
An online application can help you submit your application more easily and quickly, saving you time and money. You will need a State Health Insurance Assistance Program provider or a Social Security office near you to apply online. You will also need your bank information handy to pay for the premium due for Part B.
2. Apply by Mail
You can also apply for Medicare by mail. You will need to know your Social Security number. You will also need to have your bank information handy and the amount of any cost-sharing. If you want to apply by mail, get the form from your Medicare provider and complete the entire form. Attach a full-face photo ID, a Social Security card, and proof of your income when you can. You may also have to include proof of citizenship and other information that will help your case.
After you apply for Part B, an agency will send you a letter to confirm your request. Within eight weeks, you will receive another letter from the Social Security Administration stating whether your application has been accepted. If it is rejected, you will receive information on why that decision was made and what to do next.
3. Visit Social Security Offices
To learn more about Medicare and to apply, visit your local Social Security office. The workers there will help you with the application process and answer any questions that you may have. You can also ask them additional questions through the agency’s website or phone.
The Medicare Advantage Plan is a private plan that pays for the medical costs of people on Medicare. It can be used if you have no other health insurance and qualify for Part A and Part B of Medicare. You will have to pay a monthly premium, usually less than what it would cost to get Part A and B separately.
Explanation of Benefits (EOB)
You are legally required to receive this form from your healthcare providers for any services that Medicare pays for. Along with the Explanation of Benefits, you will receive a statement showing that you have used that amount for healthcare. You can also choose to receive your EOB online.
Medicare and Your Insurance
Medicare is not the same as private health insurance. It does not replace an insurance plan or a Medicare supplement policy. However, it can save you money on healthcare costs when compared to those plans. Medicare is suitable for people who want to save money or need an emergency fund to help pay their medical bills.
How Long Does it Take Before Your Medicare is Processed?
Make sure to keep track of the date that you apply for a new Medicare plan. You should also be aware of any deadlines, such as if you need to use Medicare to cover your medical costs before the end of the year. The average time for the Social Security Administration to process an application is no more than six weeks. However, there may be times when they need more information, or they will reject your application. They may contact you by telephone if they need an additional document or suspect fraud.