7 little-known facts about Medicare

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The average American approaches Medicare age with equal parts elation and anxiety.

The elation comes from reaching the qualifying age of 65 and finally being able to reap the health insurance benefits of paying into Medicare all those years through payroll taxes.

The anxiety? Very little about Medicare resembles the chocolate-or-vanilla employer health plans that helped you reach this personal milestone in the first place.

“It can be frightening to people who are looking at Medicare and suddenly have a lot at stake,” admits Deborah Chollet, a senior fellow and health insurance expert with Mathematica Policy Research in Washington, D.C.

To soften the shock, here are 7 Medicare surprises to help ease you into the risk pool.