How To Join Medicare

Medicare is a health insurance program subsidized by the U.S. government to help senior citizens and the disabled. The program is designed for people older than 65, those under 65 who have certain disabilities and all people with end stage renal disease. According to Medicare’s official website in 2014, most people who sign up for Medicare Part A don’t pay a premium while those in Part B pay a monthly premium starting at about $105 flat.

Different Basic Options Explained

Part A – Hospital Insurance

Medicare’s Part A is a hospital insurance plan, which pays for hospital inpatient care at certain critical access hospitals as well as skilled nursing facilities. This does not include long-term or custodial care. Part A also covers some home care and hospice care. To get these benefits, beneficiaries need to meet certain criteria as set forth by the program guidelines.

Part B – Medical Insurance

medicarePeople who take Part B pay a basic monthly premium. This plan covers outpatient care as well as doctors’ services and certain medical services that are not covered in Part A. Examples include home health care as well as occupational and physical therapy.

Other Options

Individuals can also sign up for Part C, Medicare Advantage, and Part D, which are administered by approved private insurance companies. Part C is basically a combination of parts A and B, while Part D helps cover the costs of prescription drugs.

Keep in mind that the basic Medicare parts A and B often come with significant deductibles as well as co-insurance. There is no limit on out-of-pocket expenses, so bills may quickly add up. To avoid a situation like this, you may have to take out extra insurance, such as a retiree plan through an employer. Other programs include Medicare Advantage, which limits out-of-pocket expenses, and Medigap, coverage that kicks in after Medicare benefits were spent. To qualify for Medigap, you have to be enrolled in Medicare Part B

Tips After Signing up for Medicare

After signing up for Medicare insurance, there is a list of things that you should do:

  • Fill out the Initial Enrollment Questionnaire you will receive about three months before the coverage starts. This questionnaire asks for information about other health insurance plans that will pay out before Medicare, such as group health plans from employers, workers’ compensation and liability insurance.
  • Make an appointment for the preventive visit known as “Welcome to Medicare.” This visit is free and should be done within the first 12 months of having Medicare coverage. You’ll get an overall picture of your current health and can take any steps you need to ensure you remain in the best physical condition possible.

–Sign up for, which gives you online access to all of your personal Medicare information, including claims, your Medicare Part B deductible status and information about your specific Medicare plan. You can also track all the preventative care you’ve had and need to get through the website portal.