Explaining Medicare and Other Health Insurance Options for Seniors

Explaining Medicare and Other Health Insurance Options for Seniors

Healthy living and maintaining optimum health has always been a priority for many people and is crucial to longevity. Thanks to modern medicine, we have ways to help prevent and cure diseases that would have been thought unimaginable and impossible even twenty years ago. The advances that have been made are incredible to say that least. As modern medicine advances, the costs associated with research and production of drugs and cures for disease continue to increase as well.

While there are many ways that people can protect themselves and receive help to pay for these medicines and treatments, there may be those who are retired or unable to work who are in need of these cures but unable to afford them. Because of this, the United States government created the Medicare program in 1965. This program allows senior’s and qualifying individuals on disability to receive medical coverage, supplemented by the government, at a fraction of the cost it would be to pay out of pocket.

Medicare Explained
Medicare coverage is divided into four different parts, Part A, Part B, Part C and Part D. Parts A and B are automatic enrollment programs, meaning that each person who is enrolled in Medicare automatically receives the coverage from these two parts. C and D, however, are Medicare+Choice, which means that for a small additional cost, Medicare participants can receive even more coverage.

Part A and B are basic blanket policies that cover hospital insurance and medical insurance. They provide coverage for the more common expenses such as doctor’s office visits, hospital stays, emergency room visits, lab tests and so on. Part B also covers outpatient services that are not usually performed in a hospital, but in separate clinics.

Part C is called the Medicare Advantage Plan. This plan is provided by private health insurance providers, and is optional for all Medicare enrollees. This plan essentially replaces the services provided by Medicare and allows Medicare recipients to receive their services and health coverage from a private provider. There are strict limitations on the amounts of coverage and locations where medical attention can be received through Medicare, and a Medicare advantage plan allows people the option to choose their physician and where they receive medical attention. The cost for Part C is typically a bit higher than that of Medicare and is generally paid for in the form of a monthly premium.

Medicare Part D is another optional part of Medicare, and it covers prescription drugs. While Medicare does not offer prescription drug coverage, they approve certain stand-alone prescription coverage plans that Medicare enrollees can choose from. In addition, Medicare recipients have the option to purchase a Medicare Advantage Plan that provides prescription coverage. While these plans are not provided by Medicare, some of the cost is offset by Medicare. Prescription drug plans are fully customizable and enrollees can choose which drugs they do want covered, as well as those they do not wish to pay for.

Additional Coverage Options for Seniors
While Medicare is a very comprehensive program, there may be people who expect to face more serious medical issues as they age and fear that the coverage might not be paid for by Medicare. Medicare does not cover every medical procedure and has certain yearly limitations to what it will pay. Those who expect to exceed the yearly amounts covered by Medicare might feel as if they are have no other options to help supplement the cost of medical attention. While Medicare might not be able to cover the full expense of bills and treatments, private insurance providers have been able to build on top of Medicare and now provide extensive protection programs that seniors are able to purchase privately in order to help cover the cost of medical attention.

Medicare Advantage Plans
Medicare Advantage plans are a great place for seniors with daunting medical challenges to look for additional coverage. As explained previously, Medicare Advantage plans are provided by private insurance providers and essentially replace the coverage provided by Medicare. Medicare Advantage plans are required by law to provide coverage that is equal in quality to the coverage provided by traditional Medicare, but it is not required to provide the exact same kind of coverage. Medicare Advantage plans have the opportunity to change the services covered and can offer customized protection plans depending on the need of the individual. While these plans cost more than a traditional Medicare plan, they are more flexible and can be built to fit the needs of the policy holder.

Medicare Supplemental Insurance
Another popular protection option is Medicare Supplemental Insurance. This kind of insurance, commonly called Medigap, is a kind of private insurance that builds on traditional Medicare coverage and fills the gaps of Medicare coverage. There are six different Medigap plans available, each one built to accommodate different needs that are commonly seen from Medicare enrollees. Medicare Supplemental Insurance policies are provided by private insurance companies, meaning that prices and coverage differs depending on your needs and the company providing the protection.

If you or somebody you know is searching for Medicare information and coverage, take some time to learn about and understand the realities of Medicare and the coverage it provides. Consider seriously your anticipated future needs and how much you are willing to spend on your health. Investing in your health is the best way to increase your life and enjoy the many opportunities and adventures that life provides. Protect yourself and your future with Medicare and its associated insurances.