5 Things Seniors Should Know About Medicare


56 million Americans are covered by Medicare, yet many seniors don’t know all the benefits of this essential program. To help you make the most of Medicare, here are 5 things you should know:

1.  Meet the Enrollment Deadlines

You can sign up for Medicare between the three months prior to turning 65 and the three months following. Although you can sign up at any time during those seven months, signing up early can prevent an unnecessary gap in coverage between your existing insurance and the beginning of your Medicare benefits. In addition, if you don’t sign up during this initial enrollment period, you could be charged higher premiums and even pay penalties for late enrollment.

2.  Understand your Coverage

The different parts of Medicare provide coverage in various areas. Medicare Part A covers hospital care and some types of at-home care. Medicare Part B covers doctor’s office visits and outpatient services. Medicare Part C or Medicare Advantage, is an alternative to Medicare provided by private insurance which packages Part A, Part B, and in some cases Part D into one plan. Medicare Part D covers prescription drugs.

3.  Cost of Premiums

Most seniors don’t have to pay a premium for Part A. The standard premium for Part B is $137. Most social security recipients will pay $109 per month for Part B because premiums are prevented from increasing faster than social security payments for existing beneficiaries. Costs for Plan D will vary depending on the plan

4.  Out-of-Pocket Costs

In 2017, there’s a $183 Medicare Part B deductible, after which you’ll be charged 20 percent of an approved amount for most services with no annual limit on out-of-pocket costs. Medicare Part A has a $1,316 deductible if you are hospitalized with additional costs if your stay exceeds 60 days.

5.  What Isn’t Covered

Medicare generally doesn’t cover eyeglasses, contact lenses, hearing aids or dental care. Medicare also won’t pay for more than 100 days of long-term care such as nursing home stays or assisted living.

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