A. Medicare and the NEW Health Law (The Affordable Care Act): The Affordable Care Act is the health insurance reform legislation that was passed by Congress and signed into law by President Obama on March 23, 2010. For more information about The Affordable Care Act, visit www.medicare.gov, you can also call 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227), TTY users should call: 1-877-486-2048, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. You can also contact your State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP). In Florida, the State Health Insurance Assistance Program is called SHINE. The toll free number is 1-800-963-5337; TTY users should call 711, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. You can also write to: 4040 Esplanade Way, Suite 325, Tallahassee, FL 32399-7000.
A. Medicare is a federal health insurance program for people 65 years old or over and for certain disabled people less than 65 years of age. You are automatically enrolled in Medicare hospital insurance (Part A) when you apply for Social Security benefits (if you have 10 years of creditable employment) – usually upon reaching 65 years of age. Part A covers inpatient care in a hospital or a limited stay in a skilled nursing facility. Part B covers physician and outpatient hospital services.
The premium you pay for Part B is usually deducted from your Social Security benefits. Medicare pays for many healthcare services and supplies, but it doesn't cover all of your healthcare costs. For example, you pay a deductible for each hospital stay and coinsurance anytime you use the services of a physician or surgeon. Also, drug coverage is limited. Because Medicare rarely pays the full cost of covered services, you may want to consider a Medicare Advantage or Medicare Supplement plan.
A. This type of health plan is an alternative to Original Medicare and was created by the Balanced Budget Act of 1997 and the Medicare Modernization Act of 2003. Some examples of Medicare Advantage plans are:
CarePlus Medicare Advantage HMO plans help limit out-of-pocket expenses with predictable costs and prescription drug coverage
A. An HMO features specific lists of doctors, hospitals, and other providers that you must use to receive benefits. HMOs often provide additional benefits not found in Original Medicare, including coverage for deductibles, steep reductions in coinsurance because you use in-network doctors, a drug benefit plan and wellness or fitness programs. If you select a Medicare Advantage HMO, it replaces your Original Medicare coverage. However, you can return to Original Medicare down the road if you wish.
A. As of January 1, 2006, anyone entitled to Medicare Part A and enrolled in Medicare Part B, regardless of income, is eligible to enroll in a prescription drug benefit plan. This benefit was designed to help Medicare consumers handle the rising cost of drugs and give them easier access to prescription medications.
A. Before you select a plan, carefully consider the following questions:
A. A PDP is a private stand-alone prescription drug plan that offers coverage for prescription medications. This plan can be used with Original Medicare or a Medigap plan.
A Part D eligible individual may not be enrolled in more than one PDP at the same time. A Part D eligible individual may not be simultaneously enrolled in a PDP and a Medicare Advantage (MA) plan except for a MA Private Fee-For-Service (PFFS) plan that does not offer the Part D benefit, a Medicare Savings Account (MSA), or unless otherwise provided under CMS waiver authority.
At this time, CarePlus does not offer a stand-alone PDP.
If you're considering a PDP, please keep the following in mind:
A. There are four parts to Medicare.
Medicare Part A is hospital insurance – including hospital stays, rehabilitative nursing facilities, home health care, and hospice. Most people don't have to pay a premium for Part A because it was prepaid through their payroll tax while they were working.
Medicare Part B is medical insurance – including doctors' services and outpatient care. There is a monthly premium for Part B. If you don't sign up for Part B when you first become eligible at age 65, or when you have been disabled for two years and you decide you need to join in the future, you may have to pay a penalty for each year you didn't enroll.
Medicare Part C is the Medicare Advantage program. With this option, you can opt to have your Medicare Parts A and B provided by a private company like CarePlus.
Medicare Part D is prescription drug coverage. In one way, Part D is like Part B: If you don't join at age 65, you may have to pay a penalty when you do join.
A. Here's a quick review of the key dates and deadlines for the upcoming enrollment dates:
A. For more information about Medicare Advantage or prescription drug plans you can call the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), or go online:
For more information about Medical Assistance through the state, you can contact Florida Medicaid or call your State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHINE).
For more information about Social Security or railroad retirement earnings, call or go online:
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