The federal government recognizes that certain demographics of people have a more difficult time than others getting healthcare coverage, so they developed the Medicare program in 1965. Medicare is a federal healthcare program for people who are 65 or older, certain people younger people with disabilities, and people with End-Stage Renal Disease.
There are different parts of Medicare that cover different kinds of medical services. Part A covers hospitalization. Part B covers certain doctors’ services, outpatient care, medical supplies, and preventative services. Part C, which is also called Medicare Advantage, is a health plan that is offered by a private company that contracts with Medicare to provide services for all of Part A and Part B through HMO’s, PPO’s, fee-for-service plans, special needs plans, and Medicare Medical Savings Account Plans. Most Medicare Advantage Plans include prescription drug coverage for a higher premium that follows the same rules as Medicare Prescription Drug Plans. Medicare Part D is prescription drug coverage that can be added to original Medicare, some Medicare Cost Plans, some Medicare fee-for-service plans, and Medicare Medical Savings Account Plans. These plans are offered through private insurance programs by companies that are approved by Medicare.
Healthcare has become a complicated industry, but the Medicare options are relatively simple, once you understand them. The Kaiser Family Foundation shows that the Medicare program receives 41% of its funds from general revenues, 38% from payroll taxes, and 13% from beneficiary premiums.
A good way to learn more about Medicare is by watching a series of short videos on Medicare. There are nine videos in the Medicare series with the following topics:
Overview Eligibility & Enrollment Medicare Parts A & B Choosing a Medicare Plan Medigap and Advantage Plans Medicare Part D Your Medicare Rights Annual Enrollment Periods Special Enrollment Periods
The videos are designed to offer a basic understanding of all parts of the Medicare plans. The videos include links to downloadable pdf’s of the slides in the video. The videos also include direct links to the Medicare and Social Security websites.
The average age of people who are enrolled in the Medicare program in El Paso County, where Colorado Springs is located, is age 70. El Paso County spends about $441 million dollars in Medicare funds. The Medicare program in El Paso County serves about 84, 190 individuals, according to Health Grove.
Compared with the national budget, Medicare comprises 14% of the federal budget for healthcare, according to the Congressional Budget Office. Total Medicare benefits paid out nationally in 2014 were $597 billion. These figures include Medicare hospice costs, durable medical equipment, Part B prescription drugs, outpatient dialysis, ambulance fees, lab services and other Part B services.
Seniors who want to ask questions about the Medicare program can call 1-800-MEDICARE or TTY users may call 1-877-486-2048. Health insurance brokers are another valuable source of information and can help seniors get enrolled into a plan.
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