Common Medicare Questions and Answers

Your Most Common Medicare Questions, Answered

If Medicare is new to you, you may have a lot of unanswered questions. These Medicare questions and answers can help decipher the program.

Q: What is Medicare?
A: Medicare is a federal health insurance program split into four parts: A, B, C and D. These different parts cover hospital insurance, medical insurance, Medicare Advantage Plans and prescription drug coverage, respectively.

Q: Am I eligible for Medicare?
A: To determine your eligibility, use Medicare's free online calculator .

Q: When do I sign up for Medicare?
A: The initial enrollment period spans three months before to three months after your 65th birthday. You can sign up for Part A any time during or after your initial enrollment period. If you sign up for Part B after this period, you will face a late enrollment penalty.

You can sign up for Medicare online or in person at your local Social Security office.

Q: How much does Medicare cost?
A: If you have paid Medicare taxes for at least 10 years, you will be eligible for premium-free Medicare Part A insurance. If not, your premium will depend on how long you have paid Medicare taxes. The standard monthly premium for Medicare Part B is $104.90 per month.

Q: How does Medicare work with my existing insurance?
A: Both types of policies become primary and secondary 'payers.' Whichever you distinguish as your primary insurance pays to the limits of the policy, and the secondary pays additional costs the primary did not but may not pay the entire remainder.

Q: What about Medicare Parts C and D?
A: You can purchase the Medicare Prescription Drug Plan (Part D) when you enroll in Parts A and B. The Medicare Advantage Plan (Part C) exists outside of original Medicare (Parts A and B). It is offered through private companies and provides more services.

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