Understanding Medicare and all its different plans can be confusing and time consuming. Medicare is not a requirement by the government for US citizens, but is a benefit that is paid in by Americans who work. These monies have been set aside for individuals in their retirement years to help cover their health care costs.
When individuals turn 65 years they are automatically eligible for Medicare part A. Part A is a primary insurance benefit that only covers a limited amount of medical services. These include hospital stays, inpatient nursing facilities, critical care hospitals, hospice and some home health care.
If an individual begins collecting social security benefits before the age of 65 they will automatically be enrolled in Part A when they turn 65. For Individuals who wait until they are 65 to begin collecting social security they must apply and fill out an application for Medicare along with their application for social security. Without the submission of the application, individuals will not be covered. Part A coverage is available at no cost for most individuals.
Since Part A is very limited on its coverage of medical care, Medicare also offers Part B that pays for services and supplies that are medically related. It covers doctor visits, outpatient care, additional home care and therapy such as occupational or physical therapy. There is a premium for this part that most people have to pay although there are special considerations for individuals who have limited incomes. Choosing this part can be a wise decision for seniors that have no other insurance coverage as it offers coverage of the basic needs of medical care such as doctor visits. However, this plan does not cover prescription costs.