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  • 5 Things You Should Know About Your Medicare Coverage

    On July 30th, Medicare turned 47 years old. And while more than 44 million people are now enrolled in Medicare, according to the 2010 Census, many do not fully understand what is and is not covered under Medicare. So we wanted to give you answers to some frequently asked questions. It is important to know some basic information about Medicare so that you can take full advantage of the system, plan accordingly, and avoid costly mistakes.

    1. Will Medicare cover your long-term care costs, like a nursing home or home health care?

    No. Generally, Medicare doesn’t pay for long-term care. Medicare pays only for a medically necessary skilled nursing facility or home health care. However, you must meet certain conditions for Medicare to pay for these types of care. Most long-term care is to assist people with support services for activities of daily living like dressing, bathing, and using the bathroom. Medicare doesn’t pay for this type of care, also called “custodial care”. While there are a variety of ways to pay for long-term care, it is important to understand what Medicare does and does not cover, and to think ahead about how you will fund the care you may need.

    2. Are you automatically enrolled in Medicare once you turn 65?

    No. You have a seven month initial enrollment period in which to sign up for Medicare: three months before your 65th birthday, the month of your 65th birthday, and the three months following your 65th birthday. After that, you can enroll, but only during open enrollment periods, and there are penalties for late enrollment. Note:  having COBRA coverage does not exempt you from having to enroll in Medicare when you turn 65.

    3. Is there a financial penalty for enrolling late in Medicare Part A and B?

    Yes. If you enroll in Medicare later than your allotted initial 7 month period, your premium increases permanently. The penalties for Part A and Part B are different, but can be as significant as having to pay a higher premium of 10% for every 12 months of delayed coverage for as long as you have Medicare.

    4. Does Medicare cover dental, vision, and hearing care?

    No. In order to have your Medicare plan cover routine dental, vision and hearing care you need to purchase a Medicare Advantage plan, which is run by a private insurer. Or you need to purchase supplemental insurance that covers those medical areas.

    5. Can Medicare reject you or increase your premium payments due to preexisting conditions or poor health status?

    No. Unlike private health insurers, Medicare cannot deny coverage or increase premiums due to prior health status.

    Now that you know the basics of Medicare, share this information with someone else who may need it!

    One Response to “5 Things You Should Know About Your Medicare Coverage”

    1. sea says:

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    About Us

    WISER is a nonprofit organization that works to help women, educators and policymakers understand the important issues surrounding women's retirement income. WISER creates a variety of consumer publications including fact sheets, booklets and a quarterly newsletter that explain in easy-to-understand language the complex issues surrounding Social Security, divorce, pay equity, pensions, savings and investments, banking, home-ownership, long-term care and disability insurance.

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