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The Ins and Outs of Medicare Easily Explained

Turning 65 means Medicare is now a viable option to help you cover healthcare costs and avoid paying too much out of pocket for your medical costs.

If you’re going to be turning 65 sometime soon, it’s time to start learning more about Medicare and how it can save you money on healthcare costs. That means getting as much information as you can about the types of plans, providers, and types of coverage available. Once you have enough information, you can start comparing plans that fit within your budget. Below we’ve detailed the ins and outs of Medicare in an easy-to-digest manner so that you can be well-versed on all things Medicare before it’s time to apply.

Medicare: The Basics

Medicare is a federal health insurance program for people in the U.S. who are over the age of 65 or who have certain disabilities. Medicare has four parts — Parts A, B, C, and D.

  • Part A covers inpatient care in a skilled nursing facility or hospital, but doesn’t cover long-term or custodial care. Part A also covers hospice care and sometimes home health care.
  • Part B covers doctor’s visits and preventive services, as well as medical equipment, ambulance services, and mental health coverage.
  • Part C (also known as a Medicare Advantage plan) is offered through private insurance companies and covers everything Parts A and B cover and sometimes Part D. These types of plans typically also cover dental and vision services.
  • Part D covers prescription drugs and is offered through private insurance companies as supplemental coverage.

Who’s Eligible for Medicare?

Before you dive headfirst into applying for Medicare, you’ll have to determine that you’re actually eligible for it. You’ll qualify for Medicare if any of the following information applies to you.

You’re age 65 or older and:

  • You’re an American citizen or a permanent legal resident who has lived in the U.S. for at least five consecutive years
  • You receive benefits from the Railroad Retirement Board


You’re younger than age 65 and:

  • You’ve been receiving Social Security disability benefits for at least two years
  • You have end-stage renal disease (ESRD)
  • You have ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis), also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease

When Should You Enroll in Medicare?

Once you’re sure you’re eligible for Medicare, you can start thinking about the appropriate time to apply for it and what kind of coverage you’ll need. For most people, Medicare eligibility starts the year you turn 65. Your Initial Enrollment Period spans over seven months, starting three months before your 65th birthday. After your initial enrollment, there are other special enrollment periods that allow you to make changes to your coverage.

How to Enroll in Medicare

If you’re already receiving Social Security benefits, you’ll automatically be enrolled in Medicare so you won’t have to do anything. However, if you don’t want to enroll in Medicare Part B, you might have to pay some late-enrollment fees. Before you enroll in Medicare, find out if you need to sign up for Medicare Part A or B and decide if you want Medicare Part B benefits. You should also think about whether you want extra coverage with Medicare, as well as whether you need prescription drug coverage. You can apply online, in-person or over the phone.

Choosing the Right Medicare Plan

Turning 65 means Medicare is now a viable option to help you cover healthcare costs and avoid paying too much out of pocket for your medical costs. Whether you need Part A, B, C, or D, you can get affordable health insurance. With the above information in mind, you should have a deeper knowledge and understanding of your Medicare coverage options and how to prepare for the next chapter of your life when it comes to staying healthy.

This content is sponsored by Hubert Dwight.

Photo: Shutterstock

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