For most Americans, 65 is an important age. Not only is this a time when retirement looms large, but it is the minimum age to qualify for Medicare (although those who have been on Social Security disability for at least two years may enroll at any age). Medicare is the federal government health insurance program that you must pay into while working. Upon eligibility at age 65, you earn benefits like coverage for hospital stays, doctor’s visits, and prescription drugs.
Originally established in 1966, Medicare initially only covered inpatient (Part A) and outpatient (Part B) medical services. As part of the Balanced Budget Act of 1997, the United States Congress introduced Part C which allowed enrollees to join in Medicare Advantage (MA) plans. MA plans provide at least the same benefits of Medicare Parts A and B but are administered by private insurers. In 2003, Congress passed the Medicare Modernization Act which added Part D, a prescription drug program.
Like other insurance plans, Medicare requires premium payments as well as out-of-pocket payments like deductibles, co-payments or co-insurance. Most Medicare enrollees are exempt from paying premiums on Medicare Part A. Part B premiums are usually deducted from monthly Social Security payments. If you enroll in a MA plan, Medicare should pay for some or all of the monthly premium, an amount roughly equivalent to the amount you would pay for traditional Medicare.
Preparing for Retirement
Having Medicare benefits is one of the great privileges of living in the U.S. After working and paying into the Medicare for many years, you are finally able to take advantage of those benefits. In some cases, you may be eager to enroll in Medicare, but too young to do so. If you are not able to enroll in Medicare and must wait for a period of time, there are some good insurance alternatives you may want to take advantage of.
Having health insurance just in case you encounter any health problems prior to enrolling in Medicare is a necessity. Not only will it keep your normal health care costs down, but such coverage will ensure that you are prepared for even a major medical emergency. After all, you don’t want to start off your retirement by earning a lot of medical debt that may prove difficult to pay off.
If you would like to learn more about insurance options in your area, please visit Boost Health Insurance.