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Medicare and You: Getting Started

who started medicare

Turning 65 does have its benefits

Understanding Medicare

Over the years, Medicare has been expanded to provide coverage for some younger people with disabilities, and for people with end-stage kidney disease. In 2003, President George W. Bush established Medicare Part D. a program designed to help people with Medicare pay for their prescription drugs.

Before turning 65, most people get health insurance through group plans offered by their employer or their spouse’s employer. People who are self-employed or who don’t have health insurance through their job may buy individual policies on their own.

When you turn 65, however, you’ll likely be eligible for one of the largest group health plans in the world. Medicare can be used as your sole health insurance coverage or as companion or backup coverage to insurance you have through your employer, spouse, former employer or union.

Medicare consists of several plans or "parts":

• Parts A and B are often referred to

as Original, or Traditional, Medicare. Part A helps pay your hospital bills, and most people have paid for their Part A premiums through payroll taxes while working. Part B helps pay for doctor visits and other medical services, including screenings for heart disease, diabetes and some types of cancer.

• Part C plans. also known as Medicare Advantage plans, are Medicare-approved plans offered by private insurance companies. Part C plans are an alternative to Original Medicare. Along with covering doctors and hospitals, they often cover prescription drugs, too.

• Part D plans are Medicare-approved private plans that help people who have Parts A and B to pay for prescription drugs.

Keep in mind that Medicare doesn’t cover all of your health care costs. Many services (such as routine dental and vision care) are not covered by Medicare. And unless you have additional insurance or qualify for low-income assistance. even with Medicare, you will be paying some premiums, deductibles and copays.

Category: Insurance

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