Overall, Medicare makes up a vital part of the social safety net that helps ensure quality of life for all Americans. However, some people enroll automatically while most have to apply for Medicare themselves.
When most of us think about Medicare, we may picture silver-haired retirees. To be sure, most Americans become eligible for Medicare after their working years, or when retirement is on the horizon.
In its own right, turning 65 provides Americans eligibility for Medicare. Getting signed up at the right time proves essential to avoid late fees and lack of coverage.
Medicare Benefits Disabled Americans
Disabled persons can also benefit from Medicare before age 65.
Social Security can provide an important source of income for disabled citizens. Because these individuals may have advanced health needs, Medicare automatically enrolls persons who get disability benefits.
After 24 months of payments from either Social Security or the Railroad Retirement Board, Medicare enrolls the individual in Medicare Part A and Medicare Part B.
Medicare Benefits Healthy Older Americans
In an effort to reduce excess spending and encourage public health, Medicare promotes wellness and prevention services. Medicare incorporated programs for prevention at no extra cost to beneficiaries. For many, these services put better health within reach by offering zero-cost examinations, wellness counseling, screenings, vaccines, and tests.
Proactive medical care paves the way to sustained good health. Ideally, one can better maintain symptom-free living with attention to diet, exercise, and healthy lifestyle activities.
With wellness and prevention programs, Medicare helps keep older healthy persons aware of steps to keep up good health. Efforts to preserve good health can prevent more suffering than just treating conditions after diagnosis.
Age and illness can take a toll on any individual, leaving them unable to care for themselves. Medicare has resources that can help and reduce the burden on families with older members in poor health.
Medigap Insurance for Costs Savings
Medicare Supplements offer Original Medicare users a way to save on copays, cost sharing, and coinsurance. Medicare is a fixed-fee-for-services system in which consumers can choose any doctor or hospital that accepts assignment from Medicare.
However, Medicare coverage leaves a share of costs for the consumer. Under Medicare Part B, many services split costs into eighty-percent paid by Medicare, and twenty-percent paid out-of-pocket by the consumer.
Medicare Supplements can pay some, or all, of the consumer’s out-of-pocket costs.
Medicaid and CHIP
To be clear, Medicaid is not associated with Medicare. In some cases, however, a person can have both.
Medicaid works with state governments to benefit low-income individuals, families, and children. On the other hand, Medicare provides insurance coverage for children of low-income families called the Children’s Health Insurance Program or CHIP.
This coverage meets the Obamacare requirements for qualified health insurance coverage. Medicare also works with states to protect low-income individuals and families by providing medical services and health insurance coverage through Medicaid.
Congress enacted Medicaid expansion to raise income limits for assistance with medical costs. With that, families of wider income ranges benefit from their state’s Medicaid program. Many, but not all states adopted it to protect their vulnerable, underinsured populations.
Uninsured Americans and Healthcare Costs
Uninsured Americans posed a stiff challenge for US healthcare. Millions of uninsured people continue without regular medical care. Preventable, although treatable diseases can routinely turn into intense medical emergencies without insurance.
Hypertension can become fatal strokes; pre-diabetes can lead to amputations, and so forth. So many Americans have paid a steep price both with money and human suffering for the lack of health coverage.
The Nation Benefits from Medicare
As a whole, the nation benefits from Medicare. Its value as the medical safety net for millions of Americans has been proven over the generations. Providing hospital care, medical services and a wide-range of health plans, Medicare covers nearly every need.
On their own, Medicare Part D prescription drug plans have allowed more financially sustainable outpatient treatments for millions of families.
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Medicare offers Medicare Advantage health plans and private prescription drug plans..