Breaking Down Medicare
In order for anyone to understand Medicare with all its intricate coverage and non-coverage, you must first break it down into its different parts. As the official website will explain there are four parts, Part A, Part B, Part C and of course Part D but each part is for completely different things from any other part. Part A is the main part and is the part that is free for most people, provided they have worked for at least 10 years and have reached the age of 65.
Whilst working, in the States at least, the government assumes your health needs will be covered by the different employers health insurance plans and so does not offer additional, free health insurance. As 65 is the official retirement age though, the government realizes that most people will no longer be covered by their previous employer’s plan and so need a replacement plan of some kind and Medicare Part A is that.
As with any insurance plan though, only certain coverage applies and anything over or above what is covered will have to be paid for. Part A gives coverage for hospital stays of up to so many days per year and so if your stay in hospital is for fewer days than is covered by Part A you have no cost to pay but, if your stay extends past the number of days covered, you will have to pay.
Part A does however allow for a reduced cost of payment for the first few days after full coverage and another few days with less of a reduction, eventually you will end up paying the full costs for extended hospital stays.
Parts B, C and D are optional and so you can choose if you pay into them or not but if you do pay into Part B, it will cover a certain number of doctor visits to your home each year. Part C is perhaps a combination of Parts A and B whilst Part D allows for cheaper prescription drugs.
This then brings us to Medicare supplements and what they are. A Medicare supplement is an additional insurance which you can choose to pay for which enhances what is covered by the various parts of Medicare. For instance it may extend the number of days you can remain in hospital without having to pay or it may increase the number of doctor’s visits you can have per year free of charge. A Medicare supplement may allow for reduced or even free prescription drugs or a combination of all of the above.
A Medicare supplement may therefore be of great benefit to you but first you should ensure that you do not pay for anything that you are already covered for, for free, from Medicare and so you must first learn exactly what you are covered for under Medicare and then consider a supplement for additional coverage in case it may one day be needed. After all, it is your health and so it is your job to know what medical coverage you have.