If you’re turning 65 soon, it’s time now to start thinking about signing up for Medicare. You may enroll three months before your birthday month, during your birthday month, and three months after your birthday month.
You may already be on Medicaid. Both Medicare and Medicaid are government programs that help pay for medical care. The difference between the two is Medicare is for most citizens age 65 and older, with a few exceptions. Medicaid offers free healthcare for people of all ages who meet low income guidelines or are disabled.
If your income is too high to qualify for Medicaid, you may be able to qualify through Medicaid Spend-Down if your bills from all your medical expenses reach a qualifying amount. This can include medical-related transportation, equipment, home health care, over-the counter medication, unpaid medical bills and premiums and copays through Medicare.
For those new to Medicare, there is Part A, Part B, Part C and Part D. Part A provides hospital or in-patient coverage, and typically does not require a monthly premium. Part B provides physician visits and outpatient care. It usually requires a monthly premium and could include a deductible, co-pay or coinsurance. Part C, also called Medicare Advantage plans, offer Part A and Part B through private insurance companies. Part D provides prescription drug coverage. Medicare Advantage plans should not be confused with Medicare Supplements plans.
The Senior Health Insurance Program (SHIP) is a free statewide health insurance counseling service for Medicare beneficiaries and their caregivers. SHIP provides information about Medicare supplement insurance and assistance with problems with Medicare and appeals.
SHIP counselors answer questions about Medicare, Medicare Supplement, long term care insurance, Medicare HMOs, private fee-for-service and other health insurance. They also organize and assist in filing Medicare and Medicare Supplement claims.
The service is free for seniors. Call the Bureau County Senior Center at 815-879-3981
Bureau County Senior Center
16 West Marion St.
Princeton, IL 61356
Toll Free: 1-800-554-5955