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Medicare - Basics you should know

No matter where you are settled in the US, a major component of senior health insurance is Medicare. As a Federal Government program, Medicare is meant to meet up with the health requirements of the aged. People 65 years of age or above can enroll for Medicare. In case of people with disability, special considerations may be made even if they are below 65. For people without disability two things are taken into consideration when eligibility is decided. Firstly, whether the person is a US citizen or not and secondly, whether the person has lived in the country for five consecutive years prior to the date of application. Once you are able to fulfill both the above conditions (along with the age requirement), then you can enroll for Medicare.

There are two exclusive circumstances where Medicare applies to persons below 65 as well. Firstly, your eligibility for Medicare is ensured if for two consecutive years you have received Social Security Disability Insurance. In fact, you must own your personal Medicare card from exactly three months before you turn eligible for a Medicare plan. Secondly, Medicare is available to a person below 65 if and only if he has been diagnosed with end- stage renal disease. To receive Medicare benefits though, the person should be eligible for Social Security Disability Insurance as well.

You can access Medicare benefits in two ways. The first is the Medicare coverage that was originally created. In essence this is much like traditional indemnity or a fee for service plan. This means you can have a lot of flexibility in terms of services under this plan. The second is private Medicare coverage. This is nothing but coverage offered by private insurance companies. Private Medicare coverage is usually included within Preferred Provider Organization (PPO) and Health Maintenance Organization (HMO) plans. In insurance vocabulary, these plans are also termed as Medicare advantage plans. Whether it is the original Medicare plan from the Federal Government or an advantage plan by any private insurance firm, services include inpatient and outpatient care and prescription drugs.

Medicare coverage is divided into four parts, namely, Part A, Part B, Part C and Part D. Part A involves all services related to hospital care including home health care and skilled nursing. If you have paid your taxes sincerely for 10 years continuously before applying for Medicare, youíll be eligible to get the benefits for free. In case you havenít like for other health insurance plans youíll be required to pay a monthly premium. Part B on the other hand involves medical services like preventive care, mental health care and even ambulance services. This part of Medicare coverage requires all members to pay premiums on a monthly basis. Part C involves that component of Medicare that lets private insurance companies to offer Medicare advantages through regular PPO and HMO plans. Since it usually comes with comprehensive packages, Part C can not be found separately. Part D offers prescription coverage benefits and can either be selected or left out as suits the applicantís purpose and requirement. Part D coverage is never directly available from the Government which means you have to get it from private health insurance companies.

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