What Is Medicare?
As we near our 65th birthday, we may hear the term “Medicare” more often when it comes to health care services. But what exactly is Medicare? And what are its benefits? We will explain how it works, step by step, and why it is an essential component of your health care.
Medicare is the federal government's health insurance program for people 65 years of age or older. It is also available to younger people who have certain conditions or disabilities.
The Medicare coverage is divided into 4 parts, each identified with a different letter: A, B, C, and D. Each part covers different health services.
Medicare Part A: Hospital Services
Part A covers hospitalizations, at-home health services, hospice, skilled nursing facilities, and blood donations starting from the third pint of blood.
In most cases, you won't need to pay a monthly premium for Part A if you or your spouse contributed to the Social Security while working.
Medicare Part B: Medical Services
Part B helps cover 80% of outpatient medical services, laboratories, and emergencies, among others, after meeting an annual deductible.
Most people pay the standard premium amount for Part B. Once you request this part, Medicare will automatically deduct the payment from your Social Security check.
The combination of Parts A and B are known as Original Medicare.
Medicare Part C: Medicare Advantage
Part C includes all the benefits of Original Medicare (Parts A and B) but provides a more comprehensive coverage to include additional services. Medicare Advantage covers expenses such as prescription drugs, dental services, OTC items, an allowance for food and bill payments, vision care, transportation, hearing aids, durable medical equipment, and health and wellness programs.
It is the most complete coverage available for your health care. This plan is offered by private insurance companies and regulated by Medicare. Triple-S Advantage is one of them. Your Medicare Advantage benefits may vary depending on the private insurance company you choose.
Medicare Part D: Pharmacy Coverage
Part D helps cover the costs of prescription drugs. Most Medicare Advantage plans (Part C) already include this coverage at no additional cost.