Medicare is a health insurance program that covers individuals age 65 or older, as well as a few others. It's offered by the federal government. If you work, you've been paying toward the program since your first paycheck. Your employer regularly withholds a small amount for Medicare tax. If you haven't worked, but your spouse has, you're typically covered as well. If you're self-employed, Medicare contributions are included in your self-employment tax.
Medicare Has Four Parts
Medicare has four separate parts. Part A and Part B are standard. Part A covers hospitalization and Part B covers visits to your doctor. Part A is typically free, funded by the Medicare taxes you've been paying. The government charges most individuals a small monthly premium for Part B coverage. Part C costs more, but it offers you coverage through a private insurance company, as long as the company is approved by Medicare. Part D covers prescriptions. Low-income individuals can sometimes get help toward paying extra premiums through state services.
Disabled Individuals Qualify
If you're disabled and receive disability benefits through Social Security, you are automatically enrolled for Medicare benefits - regardless of your age. However, you must collect disability benefits for two years before you qualify. This coverage typically only includes Medicare Part A and Part B.
Medicare Covers Renal Disease
Medicare also covers patients suffering from end-stage renal disease, regardless of age. End-stage renal disease typically involves kidney dialysis or transplant.
Compassionate Allowances Program
If you are seriously ill but don't qualify for Medicare because of age, disability or advanced renal disease, you may still qualify for Medicare's Compassionate Allowances program. As of 2012, the program covers 165 medical conditions that would disable individuals who suffer from them, even if they're not collecting disability benefits. This list of qualifying medical conditions includes many types of cancer and dementia. It's updated periodically. It provides help to seriously ill patients on a quicker, more expedited basis. If you think you qualify, speak with a lawyer who can help you apply through the Social Security Administration.
An Insurance Lawyer Can Help
The law surrounding Medicare health insurance for the elderly and others is complicated. Plus, the facts of each case are unique. This article provides a brief, general introduction to the topic. For more detailed, specific information, please contact an insurance lawyer..