Medicare health insurance is a program available to those who are 65+ years of age. The program has different parts and options – from hospital care to prescriptions and more — and learning what insurance options are available to you can be confusing or difficult.
Below, find out more about Medicare insurance options, including the four parts of Medicare, and learn what is the best insurance plan for you.
To be eligible for Medicare, you must generally be 65 years of age or older, be a U.S. resident and have worked and contributed to Medicare for 10 years or more.
Once you are eligible for Medicare, you have different options for coverage, beginning with Part A
Medicare Part A helps pay for inpatient care in hospitals and skilled nursing facilities. It can also cover hospice and home health care in some cases.
Medicare Part A is free if you have paid enough Medicare taxes through employment. This means you do not need to pay a monthly premium. However, you will be responsible for out-of-pocket costs from copayments and deductibles.
To qualify for free coverage, you must have paid taxes for 40 or more calendar quarters, which means you must have paid taxes for at least 10 years. The 40 quarters in which you paid taxes do not have to be consecutive.
If you do not qualify for the free coverage, you can still purchase Medicare Part A. Premium amounts are subject to change, but as of 2020, Medicare Part A premiums are:
· $259 annually if you paid taxes for 30 to 39 quarters, or 7.5 to 10 years.
· $471 annually if you paid taxes for less than 30 quarters, or less than 7.5 years.
A deductible is the amount you pay for healthcare before Medicare covers expenses. If you have Part A, your deductible will apply to each benefit period. Your benefit period starts the day you enter the hospital as an inpatient. For 2021, the deductible is $1,484. If it doesn’t sound like Part A is right for you, find out if Medicaid Part B better suits your needs.