United States Medicare Program Guidelines
- Medicare has four different types of coverage known as Medicare Part A, Part B, Part C and Part D. Part A is known as hospital insurance, and it pays for hospital and nursing homes costs. Part B covers the costs of medical treatments such as doctor visits. Part C offers you the possibility of adding additional coverage to your Part A and Part B coverage through private companies approved by Medicare. Part D is a prescription drug plan that helps you pay for the costs of prescription drugs included in the plan you choose.
- Not every person is eligible to receive Medicare benefits. The most basic requirement is that you must be a U.S. citizen or a legal resident. To have Part A coverage, you also must have paid Medicare tax while working as an employee. If you meet all of the requirements, you become eligible to start your Medicare coverage once you turn 65 years of age. To be eligible for Part B, you must be enrolled in Part A or be a U.S. citizen or legal non-immigrant who has lived in the US for five years. To be eligible for Parts C and D, you must first be eligible for Parts A and B.
- If you are a U.S. citizen or a legal resident who has worked for long enough and paid Medicare tax, the government automatically enrolls you in Medicare Part A and Part B. Medicare Part A is free, and to use its benefits, you only need to present your Medicare card. To use Part B benefits, you must first agree to pay a monthly premium. If you are not willing to do so, you can drop Part B coverage. To enroll in Part C, you also must pay a monthly premium that is set according to the company and plan you choose. Enrollment in Part D is also upon agreement to pay a monthly fee, and it must be done during the initial enrollment period. This period lasts from three months before you turn 65 years of age to three months afterward.
- Application for Part A and B is not necessary since you are automatically enrolled. If you want Part C and D coverage, you must go to the Medicare website and choose a company and plan from among the ones that are available in your area. Once you do so, you must contact the company and the plan you chose through their website or call the company by phone and fill out an application form.