Medicare Parts A & B
Medicare Part A (Hospital Insurance)
Medicare Part A Helps Cover:
- Inpatient care in hospitals
- Skilled nursing facility care
- Hospice care
- Home health care
All About Medicare Part A
Medicare Part A provides hospital coverage, skilled nursing facility care, hospice care and home health care.
Most people do not pay a monthly premium for Medicare Part A; you or your spouse paid for this through payroll taxes while working. But with Medicare Part A you are responsible for paying a deductible and coinsurance when receiving inpatient care.
Enrolling in Medicare Part A (Inpatient/Hospital Insurance)
If you are receiving Social Security benefits, you should automatically be enrolled in Medicare Part A and receive your Medicare card in the mail around your 65th birthday.
If you are not receiving Social Security benefits, you may apply for Part A as soon as three months before your 65th birthday.
Medicare Part B (Medical Insurance)
Medicare Part B Helps Cover:
Services from doctors and other health care providers
Home health care
Durable medical equipment (like wheelchairs, walkers, hospital beds, and other equipment)
Many preventive services (like screenings, shots or vaccines, and yearly “wellness” visits)
All About Medicare Part B
Medicare Part B provides outpatient services like visits to your primary care doctor or specialists, outpatient surgery, ambulance, outpatient medical health, durable medical equipment, outpatient physical therapy and outpatient lab work. Medicare Part B also has a deductible and coinsurance including 20% of the Medicare approved amount for services after you meet the deductible.
There is a monthly premium for Medicare Part B, which is determined by your modified adjusted gross income reported on your tax return from two years prior. Depending on your income, you may pay more or less per month for your Medicare Part B coverage.
Enrolling in Medicare Part B (Outpatient/Medical Insurance)
If you are receiving Social Security benefits, automatic enrollment in Part B should occur. If you were automatically enrolled in Medicare Part B and do not wish to keep your Part B coverage, follow the instructions included with your Medicare card and send it back to Social Security. If you keep the card, you keep Part B and pay monthly premiums.
If you are not receiving Social Security benefits, you must apply for Part B no sooner than three months before your 65th birthday.
You have a total of seven months to enroll in Medicare Part B – three months before the month you turn 65, the month of your birthday and three months after your birth month has ended. You can apply online at http://www.ssa.gov/medicare or in person at your local Social Security office. Call 1-800-772-1213 to confirm Social Security office hours and holiday closures.
Once a full three months have passed since the month you turned 65, you are locked in to the decision you made. If you did not enroll in Medicare Part B when you were first eligible, you can sign up during the general enrollment period that begins Jan. 1 and ends March 31 each year and you may have to pay a higher monthly premium for late enrollment. Your coverage will begin on July 1 of that year.
Exceptions to the late enrollment penalty do apply (i.e., if you will continue to work and receive health insurance through your employer).
If you are planning to continue working past the age of 65, you will want to review the cost and benefits of your employer-based insurance and compare it to the cost and benefits of enrolling in Medicare Part B.