1. Medicare works like private health insurance
With Medicare, you can’t be rejected for coverage because you’re too sick, and you won’t face higher premiums if you’re ill. That gives Medicare a big consumer advantage over many private individual health plans that are currently allowed to deny coverage or charge higher premiums based on health status.
But if you’re a high earner, you’ll pay a premium surcharge for Medicare Part B,
2. Medicare provides free or cheap health care
Under the new health-care law, as of this year beneficiaries can get annual wellness check-ups at no charge.
Medicare Part A, which covers hospital stays and services, is premium-free for most people. But that’s where the freebies end.
Traditional Medicare involves a matrix of premiums, copay's, coinsurance and deductibles.
For beneficiaries new to Medicare this year, the average premium for Medicare Part B is $115.40 a month.
And starting this year, high earners with Part D prescription-drug plans will face a surcharge.
This surcharge can range from $12 to $69.10 per month, depending on income.
Most Medicare beneficiaries purchase a Medigap supplemental insurance plan to help cover their out-of-pocket costs.
The new Plan N does have surcharges but can save you 20-30% on your monthly premium.
3. Medicare covers everything
Traditional Medicare doesn’t cover routine dental care, eyeglasses, hearing aids or custodial long-term care. It generally won’t cover health care you receive while traveling outside the U.S.
To get extra coverage for things such as vision care, one option is to instead go with a Medicare Advantage plan, which is run by a private insurer. (With cuts in federal subsidies coming in 2012, insurers have cut the number of Advantage plans they offer.)
These plans are required to provide the same coverage as Medicare Part A and Part B, but the cost-sharing is different.
Medicare Advantage plans can offer additional benefits, but they typically come with more restrictive doctor and hospital networks.
Keep in mind, If you’re healthy it might be the lowest cost,
4. You can sign up for Medicare at any time
You decision about when to sign up for Medicare often depends on the size of a person’s employer.
For older people who are still working and getting employer coverage, and for their dependent spouses, it may make sense to delay signing up for Medicare to avoid paying premiums on coverage they don’t yet need.
But incorrectly putting it off can cost you 10% of the Part B premium for every 12 months you delay enrollment.
A job loss often triggers confusion. Take an older spouse who has been counting on his
As soon as regular employer insurance ends, “the person with Medicare who had been relying