Medicare is a national health insurance program that covers workers and ensures they receive medical care from age 65 on.
Eligibility: To be eligible, workers must have paid Medicare taxes for at least ten years and been a legal resident of the United States for five or more consecutive years.
Coverage: If you qualify, Medicare is provided regardless of current income or pre-existing medical history.
Worth noting: You can begin collecting Social Security at age 62. However, Medicare coverage does not begin until age 65. You will need to have an alternate source of health insurance until you are 65.
Medicare has several different parts, and in this series, we’ll give an overview of each.
Part A generally covers hospital care, surgeries, home health services, and hospice. For hospital care coverage to kick in, you must have a stay that crosses two midnights. The time before a patient spends two nights is generally covered by Part B.
Most people do not pay for Part A. There is no premium. If you are not eligible for it for free, you can purchase a policy. There is a deductible of $1,216 for everyone for each benefit period and coinsurance for hospital stays of 60 days or longer.
Part A also covers you if you are in a skilled nursing facility for physical or occupational therapy. Speech and language therapy, as well as medications and equipment while an inpatient are also covered. There may be limits to the amount of therapy you are able to receive. Part A also includes ambulance transportation to and from the hospital.
Contains excerpts from Retirement Basics: Help for Broke Baby Boomers