Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Medicare? What's That? I'm Too Young!

To me, Medicare was always somewhere in the future.  It was for older people.  Like Scarlett O'Hara, I would think about it tomorrow.  Then my husband lost his job.  No more employer sponsored health insurance!  Suddenly I had to get serious about Medicare.  I wasn't quite prepared for that, because he had planned to retire later.

Medicare Part A is automatic; they send you a card when you turn 65.  There are no premiums to pay.  It covers hospitals.  Then you need Part B, which isn't automatic; you have to sign up for it.  You also have to pay for it.  If you are receiving Social Security, they deduct it from your check.  Then there is Part D, which also requires you to pay a premium. There are plans you can buy from private insurance companies to cover what Medicare doesn't pay. There are Advantage plans and Supplement plans.  Of course, they charge premiums too.

The maze begins when you have to decide which coverage you need and which coverage you can best afford. There are charts that show about a dozen different plans, what they will pay and how much they cost.  It's a bit overwhelming.  It's not easy to predict what your needs will be in the future, so you make an educated guess.

It's shocking to realize you have come to a different stage in your life.  It's no longer possible to tell yourself you are a middle aged person.  You get lumped into a category called "seniors".  Ack!  I wasn't ready for this.

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