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Medicare Supplemental Health Insurance: Part 2 of What You Should Know

This post is an extension of the information on the Medicare supplemental health insurance introduction on our website. It expands on Medicare Part A and what it will cover.

 

What is Medicare Part A?

Medicare Part A (Hospital Insurance) helps cover your inpatient care in hospitals, including critical access hospitals, and skilled nursing facilities (not custodial or long-term care). It also helps cover hospice care and some home health care. You must meet certain conditions. Cost

  • Most people do not pay a monthly Part A premium because they paid Medicare taxes while working.
  • In 2011, you pay up to $450 each month if you don’t get premium free Part A. If you pay a late enrollment penalty, this amount is higher.

Medicare Part A Helps Cover Your Medically Necessary:

Hospital Stays

Semiprivate room, meals, general nursing, and other hospital services and supplies. This includes inpatient care you get in critical access hospitals and mental health care. This doesn’t include private duty nursing, or a television or telephone in your room. It also doesn’t include a private room, unless medically necessary. Inpatient mental health care in a psychiatric facility is limited to 190 days in a lifetime.

Skilled Nursing Facility Care

Semiprivate room, meals, skilled nursing and rehabilitative services, and other services and supplies (after a related 3-day inpatient hospital stay).

Home Health Care

Part-time or intermittent skilled nursing care and home health aide services, physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech-language therapy, medical social services, durable medical equipment (such as wheelchairs, hospital beds, oxygen, and walkers), medical supplies, and other services

Hospice Care

For people with a terminal illness, includes drugs for symptom control and pain relief, medical and support services from a Medicare-approved hospice, and other services not otherwise covered by Medicare. Hospice care is usually given in your home. However, Medicare covers some short-term hospital and inpatient respite care (care given to a hospice patient so that the usual caregiver can rest).

Blood

Pints of blood you get at a hospital or skilled nursing facility during a covered stay.

Medicare Part B (Medical Insurance) helps cover your doctors’ services and outpatient hospital care. It also covers some other medical services that Part A doesn’t cover, such as some of the services of physical and occupational therapists, and some home health care. Part B helps pay for these covered services and supplies when they are medically necessary.

Cost

Most people will continue to pay the same premium they paid last year. The 2011 Medicare Premium for Part B is $115.40 per month. In some cases, this amount may be higher if you didn’t sign up for Part B when you first became eligible. The cost of Part B may go up 10% for each 12-month period that you could have had Part B but didn’t sign up for it, except in special cases. You will have to pay this extra amount as long as you have Part B.

We hope this information is helping you make an informed decision regarding Medicare supplemental health insurance. You can find the last post here.

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