Medicare 101

Access to healthcare is important at every stage of our lives.

Whether provided by an employer, or if you buy your own, having medical coverage helps with access to many benefits and options for care.

As we get older, medical care becomes even more crucial, but it can also seem complex. That’s why for those aged 65 and older who can qualify for Medicare, some help may be needed. “Medicare is complicated, and you need a watchdog in your corner,” says Sandra Brown, senior recruitment consultant at Senior Watchdog in LaSalle.

What is Medicare?

Medicare is a federal health insurance program for people aged 65 and older. It also applies to those with kidney failure who need a transplant or dialysis (sometimes referred to as ESRD – End-Stage Renal Disease), and certain younger people with disabilities. The plan is funded via two trust funds: The Hospital Insurance Trust Fund, and the Supplementary Medical Insurance Trust Fund.

Once you’re enrolled in Medicare, you will have options for your coverage. The two types are Original Medicare, and Medicare Advantage.

Original Medicare

Original Medicare is a fee-for-service plan that includes Parts A and B. It pays for most, but not all the costs of healthcare.

Medicare Part A – This covers hospital stays, skilled nursing, hospice, and certain home health care.

Medicare Part B – Covers certain doctors’ visits, outpatient care, preventive care, and medical supplies.

Medicare Advantage

This is a more comprehensive option. Also known as “Part C”, this is a bundled alternative that includes Parts A and B, and often, Part D.

Medicare Part D – This helps cover the cost of prescription medicines, which may also include vaccines and other necessary shots.

Medicare Advantage plans also offer extra benefits that may not be included in Original Medicare such as vision and dental. It may also have a lower premium for you to pay.

Which Medicare plan may be right for you will depend on the type of care and medication(s) you require. For more information or any questions on which Medicare plan may be best for you, visit our website or call us at 815-223-9394.

Senior Watchdog

801 2nd Street

LaSalle, IL 61301