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Understanding Medicare: How to Care for a Loved One and Their Finances

There are around 43.5 million caregivers across America. Their work requires a huge amount of physical, emotional, and financial dedication. In fact, this caregiving amasses to $375 billion every year in free labor.

This means you could save a huge amount of money and provide your loved one with excellent care using Medicare. Understanding Medicare is vital if you want to really appreciate the benefits of using this healthcare service.

Not sure how it works? Not a problem. We’re here to give you a full run-through of Medicare basics 101.

Read on to find out just how Medicare could change your and your loved one’s life today.

What is Medicare?

Medicare is a type of Social Security insurance, which began in the US in 1966.

Medicare aims to support the over 65s with their medical bills. However, younger people can also enroll in a Medicare plan if they suffer from an illness that has gone on for two years or more. To qualify for Medicare you also need to have lived in the US for at least five years.

There are more than 900,000 Medicare providers across the country.

Like other health insurance plans, Medicare helps by covering the cost of your medical bills. This can help to support you financially after retirement.

Starting Simple: Understanding Medicare Basics

There are three elements to a basic Medicare package.

Part A covers your hospital costs. This is free of charge to any Medicare patient provided you or your partner has worked in the US for ten or more years.

If you have to stay in the hospital, part A covers you for the first 60 days of your stay. After this, the insurer will reduce their payments and you will cover the rest of the cost. You may also have to pay a deductible of $1,364.

The basic Part B package covers you for 80% of any outpatient treatment costs. This includes:

  • Visits to the doctor
  • Lab tests
  • Imaging tests
  • X-rays
  • Surgery
  • Use of medical equipment (such as wheelchairs or oxygen tanks)
  • Chemotherapy
  • Radiotherapy
  • Dialysis

You will have to cover the cost of the final 20%. However, supplemental packages can help you with this. Parts A and B are compulsory to Medicare 101.

The final part of a basic Medicare package is a little more complicated and flexible. This is part D, which covers 100% of any prescription costs. These can be for medication from online retailers or pharmacies.

There are twenty different Part D packages to pick from, which provide different drugs. So you will need to choose the right one to suit your loved one’s specific needs. For help with this, visit the Medicare website to see Part D Medicare plans explained.

How Much Does Medicare Cost?

The cost of basic Medicare can vary somewhat depending on your income and depending on which packages you choose.

As we’ve already mentioned, Part A is free of charge. Part B usually costs around $135.50 per month. This may be higher if you earn more, or you can apply for a reduction if your income drops.

Part B also comes with a small deductible payment of $185 a year.

While Part B is compulsory, you may be able to delay enrolling in it to save money. This works if you already have health insurance that covers any outpatient care costs.

Finally, once you have your Part D Medicare options explained, the packages you choose from can vary in price. These often cost around $35 per month.

Doing the math then, you could be looking at paying around $2,200 a year for your Medicare if you don’t have any hospital stays. More comprehensive coverage with Medicare supplements may cost you more, but it will also cover more of your medical bills.

Supplemental Coverage and Part C

Even with Medicare explained, you may find you need more help with your loved one’s medical costs. In this case, there are two different types of supplemental Medicare coverage you can look into:

  • Medigap plans
  • Medicare Advantage plans

Medigap provides the most comprehensive coverage of your bills, but it is also the most expensive type of Medicare plan. This higher price comes with several benefits.

Medigap will cover the remaining 20% of the basic Part B plan, meaning you’re 100% covered. They also give you more options to pick from which healthcare provider you want to get treatment. Finally, with a Medigap plan, you don’t have to pay any deductibles on your treatments, so you save money there.

If a Medigap plan is out of your retirement budget,, then you might want to look at a Medicare Advantage plan. This is also known as Part C of Medicare. These plans offer you the same A and B coverage but team up with private providers to do this.

With an advantage plan, you and Medicare co-pay on your medical expenses within a specific limit. Once you reach your yearly limit, you don’t have to pay any more until the following year.

Advantage packages also offer additional benefits. These include extra coverage for:

  • Vision care
  • Dental care
  • Wellness programs
  • Hospice or end-of-life care

A lot of Advantage plans also provide prescription drug coverage, meaning you don’t have to pay for the additional part D of Medicare. However, if you need more extensive coverage, you can still opt-in for a package that works for you.

Time to Get Covered!

Now you should find understanding Medicare a much simpler task. This system could provide you and your loved one with the much-needed support while you care for them.

For help getting your loved one the support they need, get in touch today. We’re here to help!

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