Older adults often rely on Medicare to cover all or part of their medical expenses. The federal health insurance program includes a few different plans that cover everything from hospital visits to medical transportation. If you’re nearing the age of eligibility, you may have many questions about this type of coverage. Here’s a guide to its basics.
What to Know About Medicare
Who is eligible?
U.S. citizens and those who have been legal permanent residents for at least five years become eligible for Medicare when they reach 65.
If you receive Social Security disability benefits, you may become eligible after two years. However, if you receive benefits due to end-stage kidney failure or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), you qualify without the waiting period.
What options are available?
Original Medicare includes Parts A and B. Part A covers hospital stays, hospice care, some home care, and emergency services. Part B covers routine doctor visits, outpatient care, and medical equipment. Medicare Part D covers prescription drugs.
Medicare Part C, also known as Medicare Advantage, is a private plan provided by health insurance companies. It bundles the coverage offered by Parts A, B, and D. You have the option of including dental and vision insurance in the plan.
Do I have to pay for Medicare?
If you paid Social Security and Medicare withholding taxes for at least 10 years, you can carry Medicare Part A with no monthly premiums.
The other plans come with monthly premiums. They also include deductibles and coinsurance expenses. Deductibles are what you pay for medical expenses before insurance starts to cover any fees. Coinsurance is a percentage of the expenses you cover after reaching the deductible.
Does Medicare cover medical transportation?
Medicare Part B covers emergency ambulance transportation. Non-emergency ambulance rides may be covered if your doctor provides written proof that they’re medically necessary.
Non-emergency medical transportation is generally not covered under Original Medicare, but there are Medicare Advantage plans that cover them for those who need help getting to and from medical appointments.
If you’re looking for non-emergency medical transportation that works with Medicare, contact Agape Transportation. Providing rides in New York City and Westchester County, this service employs a dedicated staff who helps seniors and those with disabilities secure affordable rides to their doctor’s appointments. They offer 24/7 customer service and have a fleet of accessible vehicles. Visit their website to learn more about your options, or call (718) 585-2222 to book a ride.