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What is Medicare and what is its role?

What is Medicare and its Role

Want to know “What is Medicare”? We have gathered enough information for you.

Medicare is a federal health insurance program that subsidizes healthcare services in the United States. The Medicare plan covers those aged 65 and above and younger persons who meet specific qualifications and people with particular diseases.

Medicare is divided into numerous plans that cover various healthcare needs, some of which are paid for by the covered individual. While this allows the program to provide consumers with more cost and coverage options, it also adds to its complexity for those looking to enroll.

KEY TAKEAWAYS

  • This federal program subsidizes healthcare services for persons aged 65 and above and people with certain disorders who meet specific criteria. It has four parts.
  • Part A, B, and C (commonly known as Medicare Advantage) and Part D for prescription medications are the four Medicare parts.
  • Those who have contributed to Medicare through payroll taxes for ten years or more can get Part A premiums free of charge.
  • Other aspects of the Medicare program have premiums that patients must pay.

Medicare’s Operation

This is a federally sponsored national healthcare program in the United States. In 1965, Congress established the program as part of the Social Security Act to provide health insurance to persons aged 65 and above who did not have one.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) now administers the program, which expands coverage to include people with some specific disabilities and those with end-stage renal disease and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. This coverage is divided into four parts, and each of them provides different types of services to the insured:

  • Part A
  • Part B
  • Part C
  • Part D

Medicare Coverage Types

Individuals can choose from four types of Medicare programs, as mentioned above. Parts A and B (commonly known as Original Medicare) or the Part C plan provide basic Medicare coverage. Individuals can also sign up for a Part D plan.

Medicare Part A

Part A covers hospitals and similar inpatient or inpatient-like settings, such as skilled nursing facilities, hospices, and some home-based healthcare. This plan, however, does not cover long-term or custodial care. It automatically covers the ones who receive Social Security benefits. Enrollment is available on the Social Security website for persons who do not currently receive the service.

The following are the deductibles and coinsurance for Part A in 2021:

  1. Deductible for inpatient hospitalization: $1,484
  2. From the 61st through the 90th day, the daily coinsurance is $371.
  3. Coinsurance per day for lifetime reserve days: $7421.
  4. Coinsurance for skilled nursing facilities for days 21 to 100: $185.5012

Medicare Part B

This part covers outpatient treatment, such as doctor visits. Part B also covers Preventive services, ambulance services, medical equipment, mental health, and drug prescription. The standard monthly premium for this plan in 2021 is $148.50, with a deductible of $203. Every year, anyone with more than $88,000 ($176,000 for married couples) pays a higher premium.

Medicare Part C

These Medicare Advantage plans, often known as Medicare Supplements, must provide coverage at least as good as Original Medicare (Plans A and B). Private insurers, rather than the government, sell these plans to consumers. Many of these plans have yearly limits on out-of-pocket expenses. Many also include copays, coinsurance, deductibles, and even payments linked to insurance while traveling outside of the United States, which original Medicare patients would otherwise have to obtain through supplemental insurance such as a Medigap plan. In addition, some plans may include dental, vision, and hearing care.

Medicare Part D

This part provides supplemental prescription drug coverage to Part A and Part B beneficiaries, allowing them to obtain subsidies for prescription drug expenditures not covered by their original Medicare plans.

Eligibility for Medicare

Certain conditions must be met to be considered eligible for this program. Anyone who has legally lived in the United States for at least five years and is 65 or older is eligible for coverage. Anyone who gets Social Security benefits is automatically enrolled in Parts A and B. An individual must enroll in Part D to get an optional benefit. 

If you are under 65 and receive Social Security Disability Insurance, you may be eligible (SSDI). SSDI recipients must wait 24 months after receiving their initial check before becoming eligible for coverage, while the program exempts those with ALS or persistent renal failure from this requirement. One can use the website of the Social Security Administration (SSA) to enroll.

Anyone with ALS, regardless of age, is automatically eligible.

If an insured individual or his/her spouse paid payroll taxes to Medicare for ten years or more, then Part A payments are free. However, you are responsible for paying premiums for other components of the Medicare program.

Several sources support the program. According to the Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA), employees contribute 7.65 percent of their paychecks to these programs, with 6.2 percent to Social Security and 1.45 percent to Medicare.  As of 2021, employees contribute 7.65 percent of their paychecks to these programs. Employers are also responsible for paying the same percentage for each.

The 2020 CARES Act

Former President Trump signed the CARES (Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security) Act, a $2 trillion coronavirus emergency stimulus program, into law on March 27, 2020. It increased Medicare’s capacity to pay for COVID-19, a new coronavirus treatment and service for infected persons. The CARES Act also includes the following provisions:

  • Medicare now has more options for covering telehealth services.
  • Physician assistants, nurse practitioners, and certified nurse specialists can approve Medicare home health services.
  • Increased Medicare payments for hospital stays and durable medical equipment connected to COVID-19.

The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) made it clear that non-expansion states could use Medicaid to fund COVID 19–related services for uninsured people who would have been eligible if the state had chosen to expand. Under this state option, other populations with limited Medicaid coverage can also benefit from coverage.

Visit our website NewMedicare.com to learn more.

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