Medicare is a government health insurance program that is primarily intended for senior citizens, though people who have not attained senior status can sometimes become eligible under very limited circumstances.
If you have worked for a significant amount of time during your life, you will qualify for Medicare at the age of 65, because part of your tax contributions go toward future coverage.
The Medicare program will certainly help with your health care costs when you reach the age of eligibility, but you should be cognizant of the limitations of this program.
Medicare Part A is a portion of the program that pays for inpatient hospitalization. The majority of benefit recipients do not have to pay a monthly premium for this coverage, but there is a deductible that stands at $1,216 per benefit period in 2014 and 2015. Co-payments for extended stays can also enter the picture, and they can be quite significant.
There is a monthly premium that must be paid for Medicare Part B coverage. This is the portion that covers visits to physicians and outpatient care. The exact amount of the premium that must be paid will depend on your income level, but most people are paying $104.90 this year, and the figure will not change in 2015.
Part C is a Medicare Advantage Plan that is offered by private insurers, and the premium that you would pay for this coverage varies. This plan basically fills in the most of the gaps and you have more comprehensive coverage, but you have to pay the price.
Medicare Part D is the prescription drug plan, you have to pay a monthly premium for this coverage.
All of the above can add up, and you should prepare for these out-of-pocket expenses when you are planning ahead for your senior years. However, you should be aware of the fact that there is an additional expense looming.
Medicare does not pay for long-term care. Most seniors are going to require living assistance, and it is very expensive, so this is a big issue within the elder law community.
Medicaid does pay for long-term care, and many seniors rely upon this program late in their lives. Because it is only available to people with financial need, seniors who want to qualify often give assets to their loved ones before they apply for coverage.
This is well and good, but there is a five-year look-back. Your eligibility will be delayed if you give away assets within five years of applying, so you would be forced to pay out-of-pocket during this interim.
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If you would like to learn more about the expenses that you may face during the latter portion of your life, we can help. Our firm offers free consultations, and you can send us a message through this page to set up an appointment: Smithtown NY Elder Law Attorney.