Tag: Medicare

Medicare is divided into parts, which are differentiated by letters of the alphabet. If you will be turning 65 shortly, take some time to understand Medicare Part A and B what it covers, and the costs involved.

Part A

Part A provides hospitalization coverage, including hospital stays, skilled nursing facility care, home health care (skilled nursing, physical therapy), and hospice care. For most individuals, Part A is free, there is no charge for coverage as long as you meet a few requirements. As long as you are a permanent resident of the United States and you or your spouse paid Social Security taxes while employed, enrollment is automatic. There are deductibles and co-insurance that you are responsible for.

Not Covered

Private room

Personal care items (shampoos, toothpaste, etc.)

Television, phone charges

First three pints of blood

24-hour home care

Meals and homemaker services not related to treatment

In-home personal care (bathing, dressing, etc.) 

Part B

Part B covers expenses that are necessary to treat or prevent a disease or condition. Fees that occur outside of room and board while in the hospital are those related to diagnostic testing, preventative care, and supplies needed to diagnose or treat. Fees for visiting the doctor are also included. Part B also provides coverage for many tests and screenings. The standard monthly premium for 2024 is $174.70 (or higher depending on your income). Most people who get Social Security benefits pay this amount.

Not Covered

Elective and cosmetic surgery

Alternative medicine – acupuncture, homeopathy

Vaccinations and immunizations

Prescription and Non-Prescription drugs

General dental work, dentures

Long term care

Hearing aids and exams for fitting

Eye examinations for prescribing glasses


There are out-of-pocket costs associated with Medicare, deductibles, coinsurance, and copays. Many seniors choose to supplement coverage to cover costs. You do not have to accept Part B, and you may opt-out by signing the back of your card and returning it by mail. If you are still working and receiving coverage from your spouse or through an employer, accepting Part A, but delaying Part B may make sense.


Typically, the best time to enroll in Part A and B Is when you are first eligible, during your Initial Enrollment Period. Unfortunately,  If you do not qualify for Part A and need to enroll for Part B and miss your enrollment, you may have to wait until the General Enrollment Period, Jan 1-Mar 31, with coverage starting on July 1. 


if you don’t enroll in Part B at this time, you will be responsible for a penalty for each 12-month period you were eligible for but didn’t enroll. A 10 percent penalty will be reflected in your premium and will continue for as long as you receive benefits. If you have coverage through your spouse, you may delay enrollment without a penalty. You may be eligible for a Special Enrollment where you won’t be charged a penalty. If you are subject to the penalty, in addition to a premium increase, you may have to wait until January (General Enrollment Period) to enroll for coverage that begins in July. The monthly rate for Part B is based on your income.

Effective Dates

In the event you have not enrolled automatically and choose to enroll in Medicare yourself, effective coverage dates vary based on the month you sign up. If you sign up during your Initial Enrollment Period (the 7 months beginning 3 months before your 65th birthday and ending 3 months after your 65th birthday) effective start dates are shown below.

The same month you turn 65, coverage begins 1 month after you enroll.

1 month after you turn 65, coverage begins 2 months after you enroll.

2 months after you turn 65, coverage begins 3 months after you enroll.

3 months after you turn 65, coverage begins 3 months after you enroll.



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Tag: Medicare

If you’re turning 65 in Illinois soon, you will be able to enroll in Medicare, a federally funded program that provides hospital and medical insurance to seniors. For most, enrollment is automatic. Transitioning to Medicare can be confusing. Take a few minutes to become familiar with the coverage and cost of Medicare.

Part A

Part A is free for most people as long as you receive Social Security or Railroad Retirement benefits, you don’t need to do anything and your Medicare card will be sent to you by mail.

Part B

A Part B premium will be deducted from your Social Security payments each month. In 2024, the standard premium is $174.70


When you first become eligible, you enter what is called your Initial Enrollment Period. This is a 7-month period of time beginning 3 months before your birthday month, and extending 3 months after your birthday month. This is the time to enroll in Medicare or enhance coverage with additional benefits. If you delay, you may have to wait until the General Enrollment Period (Jan 1- Mar 31) of the following year and may also be charged a Part B late enrollment penalty.

Additional Benefits

Medicare covers much of your health care, but it doesn’t cover everything. It’s up to you to decide if you want to supplement coverage with additional benefits. Understanding your options will make it easier. Medicare Advantage (Part C) enhances Medicare by delivering all of your Parts A, and B, coverage and extra benefits. You are responsible for paying a monthly premium as well as the Part B premium. Medicare does not provide coverage for prescription drugs. Two ways to get benefits, join a Part D plan, or a Part C plan that already includes prescription coverage.











Cost of Part B: https://www.medicare.gov/your-medicare-costs/part-b-costs/part-b-costs.html


Tag: Medicare

Medicare Part B provides services including tests, shots, and screenings. These preventive measures provide a snapshot of your health and well-being. Coverage also includes counseling that helps seniors make more informed decisions with lifestyle choices.


One-time “Welcome to Medicare” preventive visit



Prostate and colorectal cancer screenings

Pelvic Exams

Pap Smears

Bone mass measurements

Sexually transmitted infection testing

Yearly wellness visit

Flu, Hepatitis B, and Pneumococcal shots


Multiple cancers

Hepatitis C










Sexually transmitted infections

Tobacco use cessation

Nutrition therapy











Tag: Medicare

There are financial resources available to help seniors with the costs of Medicare. Out-of-pocket costs, premiums, and copayments strain many financially to cover the costs.

Medicare Costs

The exact amount you pay for coverage is based on several factors, including your income. There are five different income tiers used to calculate costs, Part A is typically free for most people, and Part B carries a monthly premium. If you receive Social Security benefits, Railroad Retirement benefits, or Office of Personnel Management benefits, your Part B premium will be deducted each month from your benefit.

Financial Help

There are several programs available to help people with limited income get the coverage they need. Medicaid helps pay for medical costs for people with limited income and resources. In many cases, it offers additional benefits not provided by Medicare, such as nursing home care and prescription drug coverage. Eligibility rules differ by state. Be sure to call your state Medicaid program to see if you qualify.

State Medicare Savings

Created to help seniors pay for premiums and out-of-pocket costs like deductibles, coinsurance, copays, and even prescription drug coverage costs. Eligibility is based on income.

PACE Program

The PACE Program was created to help the elderly in need of nursing home-level care receive services at home or in a center rather than at a nursing home or elder care facility. To qualify, you must be at least 55 years old, live in the service area of a PACE organization, and need nursing home-level care. PACE often covers dental care, prescription drugs, meals, preventive care, emergency services, and more. If you qualify for Medicaid, you pay nothing for PACE coverage. If you do not qualify for Medicaid, you pay a monthly premium for prescription drugs along with a monthly premium to cover the costs of long-term care. However, there is no deductible or copayment.

Extra Help

The Extra Help Program helps pay for prescription coverage, available for those who meet certain income and resource limits. If you qualify, you may pay a reduced amount for your prescription drug plan premium and deductible. Seniors who have full Medicaid or get Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits, automatically qualify. Of course, using generic drugs over brand names, using mail-order services, and choosing the right plan can help keep drug costs low.



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Medicare Savings Program




Extra Help with Part D







Tag: Medicare

Many seniors carry group insurance through an employer or a spouse’s employer. If you need medical services, which pays first? Different group plans are called payers. You will have a primary payer and a secondary one. Which pays first and which pays second depends on how many employees an employer has, retired or still working, and whether or not you are covered under a spouse’s plan. 

20 or More Employees

For companies with over 20 employees, group coverage typically pays before Medicare. If you are over 65, have Medicare, and are enrolled in coverage through work, your group plan usually pays first. When employer benefits do not cover the entire cost of care, the balance is sent to Medicare. Your out-of-pocket costs will vary based on how much of the remaining balance Medicare pays. 

20 or Fewer Employees

If you receive your benefits through an employer with less than 20 employees, Medicare typically pays first. However, there are instances where your group coverage might pay first if your employer joined with other employers to form a multi-employer plan, and at least one in the group has 20 or more employees, then group coverage pays first. 

Former Employer

if you are retired and receiving coverage through a former employer, Medicare pays first and the group pays second. However, if you are retired, but your spouse is not retired and you are covered under that policy with 20 or more employees, the group pays first and Medicare pays second.

Primary vs Secondary

Receiving care outside an employer plan’s network can be tricky. In many cases, receiving care outside of the plan’s network can cause both group and Medicare not to pay. Be careful when considering out-of-network. Check with your employer to ensure they will still pay. If you do not take your employer’s coverage, coverage through a spouse will pay before Medicare. If you choose not to take employer coverage through work, Medicare will pay for approved services. If you have coverage through a spouse, or if your spouse’s employer has over 20 employees, Medicare will not pay first. If you are receiving COBRA, Medicare typically pays first. Even if you had benefits before being enrolled in Medicare. If you have Medicare and are 65 or older, and receive COBRA benefits after enrolling in Medicare, Medicare pays first. Even with a secondary payer, you may have out-of-pocket expenses. The primary payer (whether it’s Medicare or group coverage) doesn’t always pay the full balance owed from care. The secondary payer may not cover all of the remaining costs. If you chose to delay Part B, group coverage may not pay until you join Part B. The secondary payer only pays if there are costs the primary doesn’t cover. If you don’t have a primary because you chose to delay Part B, group coverage may not pay until you enroll.