Medicare Programs that Can Help You Save Money on Prescription Drugs and Medical Expenses
Medicare is one of the most known health insurance programs in the US. It aims to provide aid to qualified individuals in terms of medical services and medicine costs.
Mainly, the program’s target is citizens who are aged 65 and above. However, there are instances when younger individuals can be qualified for insurance, especially those who are suffering from a disability or kidney failure.
Although medicare may help in covering the cost of your health care, it does not cover all expenses in medical, health care, and long-term care services.
Moreover, in applying for insurance, there are certain plans you can choose from.
Program Parts of Medicare
If you are 65 years or older and have been able to pay your Medicare taxes for a long period may be eligible for free hospital insurance.
You can also apply for part B so long as you will pay a monthly premium to remain eligible. Take note too, that the premium amount may vary depending on the amount of income you receive.
This means that the higher the income, the higher the monthly premium amount. Let us discuss the program eligibility.
There are mainly two original parts:
1. Medicare Part A - This is considered hospital insurance. This part focuses on hospital services wherein the program covers the patient’s hospital expenses or costs in a nursing facility that follows a hospital stay. Part A may also cover expenses in hospice or home health care services.
2. Medicare Part B - This is considered medical insurance. Focuses on providing coverage in terms of services from professional doctors and health care providers. It also provides coverage in outpatient care, home health care, preventive services, and medical equipment.
Other than these two parts of the program, other programs are managed and supervised by private healthcare institutions.
These private institutions still follow rules and procedures set by the insurance program.
1. Supplemental Policies or Medigap - These policies focus on providing payment assistance in co-insurance, co-payments, and other deductible expenses.
2. Medicare Part C or the Advantage Plan - Medicare part C, now called the Medicare advantage plan offers the coverage both part A and B provide including other medical-related services in terms of vision, dental, or hearing. All the goody benefits in one Medicare insurance plan.
3. Medicare Part D - This is considered a medical insurance program from Medicare that specifically focuses on providing coverage for expenses in buying prescription drugs.
Eligibility for Medicare
Most of the people eligible for insurance are:
1. Senior citizens aged 65 years and above;
2. Individuals suffering from permanent kidney disease; and
3. Individuals suffering from a disability.
Most programs require members to pay monthly premiums to maintain eligibility for the program. However, you can be eligible for Part A free premiums if:
• You are 65 years old or above;
• You were able to work and pay medicare taxes for 10 years or longer (this also applies to your spouse);
• You are receiving retirement payments from the SSA or the Railroad Retirement Board;
• You are qualified for SSA and Railroad Retirement Board benefits but have not yet filed a claim;
• You had experience working under the government with Medicare coverage (this also applies to your spouse).
If you were not able to pay Medicare taxes during your employment, you can still be eligible for free premiums on part A if:
• You are 65 years old or above;
• You are a legal citizen of the country;
• You have been granted benefits from the SSA or Railroad Retirement Board for a duration of 24 months;
• You have renal disease or are in the process of losing your kidneys.
Determine your eligibility for a Medicare program and get access to the Medicare eligibility tool
How to Apply
Some individuals can be automatically qualified for part A and part B after applying for retirement or disability benefits from the Railroad Retirement Board or SSA.
However, some people still have to sign up to get insurance. If you want to apply for Medicare insurance, there are three options you can choose from:
• By visiting the SSA’s official website
• By dialling the SSA’s contact number: 1-800-772-1213 available from 7 am to 7 pm; or
• By visiting the SSA’s local agency in your state or area.
Paying Your Premiums
If you are currently under Medicare insurance, it is a requisite to pay a monthly premium unless you are granted premium-free insurance. In this case, you will receive a Medicare premium bill each month or every three months.
There are several ways you can pay your monthly premiums:
• By logging in to your Medicare account
• By signing up for Medicare’s Easy Pay tool that will automatically pay your monthly premiums by deducting the amount from your bank account;
• By using the online bill payment tool of your preferred bank(if the service is available); or
• Send your payment by credit card, debit card, or check to utilize the coupon from the bill you received.
Take note that by paying through your account, you need to have with you a copy of the Medicare bill as well as your bank account information.
Other Medicare Programs:
Some programs might help you pay your monthly premiums for Medicare expenses:
• Qualified Medicare Beneficiary - This program will assist you in paying for Medicare part A and part B premiums as well as other medical services offers.
• Specified Low-Income Medicare beneficiary - This is also known as the SLMB program which helps pay premiums of part B insurance.
• Qualifying Individual Program - Also known as QI. This is the same as the SLMB, only it requires applicants to file an application every year. Further, this program involves a first-come-first-serve policy and prioritizes applicants who were able to apply last year.
• Qualified Disabled and Working Individuals - Also known as QDWI. This program helps in paying the premiums of part A insurance so long as:
○ You are suffering from a disability;
○ You are currently working; and
○ Your Social Security benefits and premium-free insurance ended due to your return to work.