The first contact people have with elder healthcare is Medicare. Medicare is a federal health insurance program available to people 65 or older, and sometimes to people younger than 65 with special health needs.

Part A: Covers hospitalization – qualified by working. No Charge. Covers limited therapy and hospice care if needed. Does not cover nursing home care.

Part B: Medical Insurance – $121.80 for New Enrollees ($170.50 for high income). Covers doctor appointments and some outpatient services.

Part C: “Advantage Plans” Combine A, B and sometimes D into an HMO or Preferred Provider Plan. These are sold by private companies authorized by Medicare. Generally you will still need to pay the Part B payment.

Part D: Drug plan
Medi-Gap or Supplemental: Covers gaps in the Medicare Policy additional cost.

Two very important factors in choosing your Medicare policy.

1. Don’t wait to apply. Permanent Penalty of roughly 1% a month if enrollment is delayed past the age of 65.

2. Speak to an Insurance Agent BEFORE choosing to buy an Advantage Plan, particularly if you have health problems. Initially pricing for an Advantage Plan is based on general age group demographics. If you are in an Advantage Plan and want to move into a Part B plan, you are then qualified on your individual physical characteristics. If you are sick, it might make it much more difficult.

3. Medigap or Supplemental Policies are purchased through private insurance companies and help fill in coverage for what Medicare does not cover.

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