Medicare Questions

If you have questions about Medicare, you’re in good company. It can be confusing.

There are a lot of choices and a lot of rules for the government health plan for U.S. citizens age 65 and older. It also covers some younger people with certain health problems.

Medicare has four “Parts.”

  • Part A is hospital insurance.
  • Part B is medical insurance.
  • Part C is Medicare Advantage, offered by insurance companies and approved by Medicare. It includes Parts A and B, and even Part D.
  • Part D is the prescription drug plan.

Then there is Medicare Supplement, also called Medigap, which pays some expenses Parts A and B do not.

Where to Get Answers

Medicare.gov   offers a guide to help you get started. Another source is the National Council on Aging  .

One good place for answers is your health plan. You can always find answers by going to www.bcbsil.com/medicare or by calling the customer service number on the back of your card. 

Here are answers to some common questions:

What is a late enrollment penalty? If you do not join a Medicare drug plan when you are first eligible and don’t have other drug coverage, you may have to pay a penalty  .

What is a Special Enrollment Period? You can make changes to your Medicare Advantage and Medicare drug plan if certain things change in your life. The period   can be triggered by moving to a place not covered by your current plan or by some plan changes.

What is a Low-Income Subsidy or Extra Help? People with limited income may get help paying for their prescription drugs. The Social Security Administration   or a state Medicaid office has the facts.

How can I pay my premiums? You can pay through Social Security deductions. Or you can pay by mail or automatic payment from a checking or savings account.

 

Sources: Getting Started  , U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services; Medicare Matters  , National Council on Aging; Extra Help with Medicare Prescription Drug Plan Costs   , Social Security Administration.

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