Medicare Basics

Here are some frequently asked questions and answers. When you are ready to learn more, check out Medicare In-Depth.

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Medicare Basics FAQ’s

Are you New to Medicare Coverage?

Medicare is the federal government program that provides health care coverage (health insurance) if you are 65+, under 65 and receiving Social Security Disability Insurance SSDI) for a certain amount of time, or under 65 and have End-Stage Renal Disease (ESRD). The...

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What is Original Medicare?

Medicare Part A, also called “original Medicare,” is the insurance plan that covers hospital stays and services. It also covers stays in skilled nursing facilities, walkers and wheelchairs, and hospice care. It even covers home healthcare services if...

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Who is Eligible for Medicare?

Turning 65 is one way you become eligible for Medicare.  You can also be under 65 and eligible for Medicare because you are receiving Social Security Disability Insurance or SSDI.  In most cases, you qualify for Medicare due to disability if you have been...

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What Does Medicare Cover?

When it comes to healthcare, it’s important to know what is covered and what isn’t. Because there are so many different plans for Medicare, it can be hard to figure out which one is right for you. Fortunately, there are tools to make this process...

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What is the Difference Between Medicare and Medicaid?

Medicare and Medicaid are two separate, government-run programs created in 1965 to address the fact older and lower-income Americans, respectively, found it difficult to afford private health insurance.These programs spread the financial burdens of...

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How Many Different Parts of Medicare?

There are four parts of Medicare: Part A, Part B, Part C, and Part D. Part A provides inpatient/hospital coverage. Part B provides outpatient/medical coverage. Part C offers an alternate way to receive your Medicare benefits (see below for more information). Part D...

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What is Medicare Part A?

Also referred to as Hospital Coverage, Medicare Part A is free to people who have worked 10 years or more and paid Medicare taxes. Otherwise, you can sign up for Part A at a cost. There are premiums, copays and coinsurance costs. If you collect Social...

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What is Medicare Part B?

 Also part of Original Medicare, Medicare Part B medical coverage may be similar to the health insurance you or a loved one may have had while working. You can decline Part B if you are still working and have group insurance coverage. However, it is...

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What is Medicare Part D?

Medicare’s Prescription Drug Plan (PDP) program – Part D – is optional. However, if you delay enrolling in a Medicare PDP, you may be charged a late enrollment penalty if you decide you want it later. Criteria for joining a Prescription Drug Program...

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Questions to Ask When New to Medicare

If you are new to Medicare, there are several questions you should consider while approaching or within your Initial Enrollment Period (IEP) or a Special Enrollment Period (SEP). Use this guide to consider your options when preparing to enroll in Medicare or after you...

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What is Medicare Annual Enrollment (aka AEP)?

Medicare Annual Enrollment Period is every year from October 15th through December 7th. The Medicare AEP is your opportunity to make changes each year to your Medicare health and drug plans. Each year cost, coverage and what providers and pharmacies are...

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What is the Medicare Savings Program?

Medicare Savings Programs (MSPs), also known as Medicare Buy-In programs or Medicare Premium Payment Programs, help pay your Medicare costs if you have limited income and savings. There are three main programs, each with different benefits and eligibility...

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What are the Income and Asset Limits for the MSP?

Each state has different eligibility requirements for the MSPs. For instance, while all states require that applicants meet monthly income limits, those limits may vary from state to state. It is important to know that many states require you to apply for...

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How Can I Apply for a Medicare Savings Program?

Below is a general guide to the MSP application process. Before applying for an MSP, you should call your local Medicaid office for application steps, submission information (online, mail, appointment, or through community health centers and other...

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