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I"m Going On Medicare: What Are My Options?

If you've worked for at least 10 years and contributed to Social Security, you're eligible to receive health insurance through the Medicare program.
While enrollment in certain parts of the program is automatic when you turn 65, you will need to research and find the best options for other portions.
Part A and Part B - Automatic Enrollment Parts A and B in Medicare cover part of the costs of your hospital stays (A) and necessary medical appointments (B) (along with some preventative care).
Enrollment in Part A is automatic, while Part B is automatic for most Americans, but some situations require your enrollment.
For instance if you are not retiring but have reached the age of 65, you can apply for your Medicare benefits separately from Social Security.
Part A is Hospital Insurance with a yearly deductible and coinsurance for extended hospital stays.
Part B is Medical Insurance with a low-cost monthly premium with copays and yearly deductible that is about the same cost for anyone who is eligible for Medicare depending on income.
If you opt out of Part B when you are first eligible, you may have to pay a late enrollment penalty if you decide to re-enroll during the next period.
Part C - Medicare Advantage Not all of your medical expenses will be covered by Part A and Part B, so many people opt for Medicare Advantage (Part C).
Medicare Advantage is private insurance that is approved by Medicare and offered through independent insurance companies.
Medicare Advantage offers similar benefits to what you'd have with health insurance through your employer.
There are different levels of coverage and different monthly premium amounts.
Your Medicare Advantage plan will have all of the Part A and Part B coverage with additional private health care coverage options.
When you join a Medicare Advantage plan, you are still enrolled in Medicare and continue to pay your Part B monthly premium, but you will have a card from your private health insurance company.
You'll have lower co-pays and deductibles than you would with Medicare alone.
You may also have vision, dental and other additional health care options that you wouldn't get otherwise.
Part D - Prescription Coverage Prescription drugs may be covered under your Medicare Advantage plan, but you can also obtain it on your own through a private insurance company that has been approved by Medicare.
Anyone that is eligible for Part A and enrolled in Part B can choose a Part D plan to enroll in.
Since Part D is offered by so many different insurance companies, prescription coverage is not standardized.
Plans can select which drugs or classes of drugs they want to cover - so it's important to do your research!

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