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What You Need To Know About Medicare

When you reach age 65, whether you are still working or took an early retirement, it’s time to educate yourself about Medicare.

“Medicare is a health insurance option that individuals have available to them when they are turning 65 or have been on disability for 24 months,” says Kathy Hirko, owner of KAZ Company in Independence, a business that helps people understand Medicare coverage plans.

Health care, in general, is confusing to most people — and Medicare is no different. Hirko provides some basics when venturing into the process.

CHOOSING YOUR PLAN

If you are collecting Social Security benefits and have turned 65, you might have already received your Medicare card.

There is an opportunity to enroll in Medicare three months before or after your 65th birthday. To apply for your benefits, contact Social Security by either phone, online or go to the local office.

There are different plans (A and B) for Medicare that cover 80 percent.

“You are paying into Medicare as you work,” Hirko says. “Part A (hospital coverage) is free to anyone who has worked 40 quarters. Part B is available and covers outpatient hospital, doctors, etc.”

People who use the Part B plan have to pay premiums. However, they can opt out during their enrollment period.

“They (might opt out) because they have coverage through work or don’t need to or want Part B,” she says. “More and more boomers are not ready to retire at age 65. You do not have to be retired to use Medicare and can continue to work. If you decide that you no longer want the company plan or are retiring, you would apply for Medicare A and B. “

Medicare can possibly cost less than the company plan. She says people should research the difference between plans.

Also, don’t forget prescriptions.

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