Medicare helps with health care costs
A big part of planning
for retirement is getting a handle on medical
expenses. And a major part of that is knowing
what Medicare can or cannot do for you --
physically and financially.
You'll automatically be enrolled
in Medicare if you already collect Social
Security or receive benefits from the Railroad
Retirement Board when you turn 65, or if you've
been collecting disability for more than two
years. If you're working and not collecting
government pension benefits, you need to sign
up three months before your 65th birthday.
First of all, understand clearly
that Medicare is not free health care. You'll
have to pay deductibles and co-payments out-of-pocket,
and certain services aren't covered at all.
What you'll ultimately pay will
depend on the type of Medicare plan you choose:
whether you'll have additional health insurance
coverage from a former employer; whether you
purchase so-called "supplemental coverage";
and how often you make use of the medical
services your doctor or hospital offer.
|You have several options, and they're not cut-and-dried. Here's what you need to know to make intelligent decisions about your insurance coverage.
Listing here everything that Medicare covers
and doesn't cover would take volumes. But
following is a brief overview to provide a
basic understanding. For more details, visit
Web site and download the 'Medicare
& You 2008' handbook
The original plan: Parts A & B
The original plan helps pay for many medical
services and supplies provided in hospitals,
doctors' offices and other health care settings.
Part A focuses on hospital insurance, while
Part B is the program's medical insurance
component. All U.S. citizens and legal residents
of the United States who have paid Medicare
payroll taxes for 10 years or more are eligible
for both Part A and Part B coverage upon reaching
Part A helps with the cost of
inpatient care in hospitals (including inpatient
rehabilitation facilities), inpatient stays
in a skilled nursing facility (but not custodial
or long-term care), inpatient mental health
care in a psychiatric hospital (limited to
190 days in a lifetime), as well as hospice
care services and home health care services.
Medicare Part A will completely cover some
of the costs associated with these services
and procedures. Others will require out-of-pocket
co-payments or the satisfaction of annual