Due to the paper nature of the Medicare card, many people are asking questions like, “can I laminate my Medicare card?” and the answer isn’t a straight yes or no answer.
However, according to the Social Security Administration, you’re advised not to laminate your Medicare card because lamination might prevent detection of the card’s security features.
Meanwhile, due to the paper nature of the Medicare card, many people feel the best way to protect the card is to laminate it.
It’s vital to point out that it’s not illegal to laminate your Medicare card, but you’re advised not to do so.
What Is Medicare?
Medicare is a governmental insurance initiative funded for seniors (65 years and above) and people living with disabilities and chronic health conditions.
The Medicare program provides various insurance covers to make life easier for you.
Through the program, you can list your health conditions, the medications you’re taking and have access to doctors who’ll choose a Medicare plan suitable for you.
How Can I Become Eligible For Medicare?
You can become eligible for Medicare if you meet the following criteria;
- you have ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease)
- you have a disability, and you’ve been collecting benefits (social security disability) for two years
- you have an end-stage renal disease (kidney failure), and you’ve undergone a renal transplant or receiving dialysis
You can use Medicare health insurance as your primary insurance, backup, or supplemental coverage. You can also use Medicare to pay your medical bills long-term.
However, it may not cover all your medical costs.
Medicare is funded by taxes, premiums that you pay, or the social security checks you pay.
What Are The Various Parts Of Medicare?
Medicare was set up to cover your crucial medical needs, like doctor visits and hospital stays. The program consists of four parts: Part A, B, C and D.
Part A and B are popularly known as original Medicare. These two handle the majority of your essential services.
Medicare Part A (hospitalization)
Part A takes care of your hospital care alongside various hospital-related needs. If you visit the hospital as an inpatient, Part A will handle your healthcare-related treatments.
Also, Part A covers hospice care for terminally ill patients.
For patients with a modest income, there’ll be no premiums. However, those with higher incomes will pay a little fee for this plan.
Medicare Part B (medical)
The Medicare Part B coverage includes general medical healthcare and outpatient care that you might need to live a healthy life, like;
- mental health services
- medical supplies
- various tests and screenings
- a large portion of preventive services
You’ll be charged a premium based on your income for this type of coverage.
Medicare Part C (Medicare Advantage)
The Medicare Part C coverage, widely known as the Medicare Advantage, enables certified private insurance companies to offer insurance plans to persons registered in Parts A and B.
The Medicare Part C plan covers all the services and benefits found in Parts A and B. Furthermore, it offers extra benefits like;
- prescription drug cover
The Medicare Part C plan has added fees like deductibles and copay. Meanwhile, some plans don’t have premiums.
However, if you choose a plan with a premium, it could be removed from your social security check.
Medicare Part D (Prescriptions)
Medicare Part D caters for prescription drugs. The cost of this plan depends on your level of income, while your deductibles and your copayments depend on the medications you require.
The Medicare Part D plan provides a list (formulary) of drugs that it covers so you’ll know if the medications that you need is part of the plan.
Medicare Supplement (Medigap)
Medicare supplement is one of the five Medicare insurance plans that you can consider.
It works with original Medicare. Therefore, it helps you cover out of pocket expenses that original Medicare does not cover.
Medigap is made available by private companies. Though, Medicare requires that some states provide similar coverage.
There are ten available Medigap plans; A, B, C, D, F, G, K, L, M and N. These plans differ in terms of what they cover.
PRO TIP: If you first qualified for Medicare after January 1, 2020, you’re no longer eligible for plans C or F. However, If you qualified for Medicare before January 1, 2020, you’re eligible for plans C or F.
How To Get Medicare?
If you’re already collecting social security benefits, you’ll be enrolled automatically into the program.
Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons
However, if you haven’t started collecting benefits, you should contact the social security office about three months before turning 65 years to enroll in the program.
The Social Security Administration is responsible for Medicare enrolment, and here are three easy ways to apply for the program.
- you can use the Medicare online application
- you can reach Social Security Administration at 1-800-772-1213 or TTY: 1-800-325-0778
- visit the nearest Social Security Administration office in your vicinity
Tips For Choosing A Medicare Plan
You must consider your medical needs to enable you to make an informed decision on what Medicare plan is best for you,
Here are some tips that will assist you in choosing the right plan for you.
- Estimate how much you spent on medical bills last year, so you’ll know the right plan that will save you money.
- List your health conditions to ensure your chosen plan covers them.
- Contact your doctor and ask if they work with Medicare or any other network like Preferred Provider Organization (PPO) or Health Maintenance Organizations (HMO).
- List any hospitalizations or treatment that you may require in the coming year.
- Understand the type of insurance that you have, and check if it works with Medicare and know how to cancel it if necessary.
- Do you require glasses, hearing aids, dental work, or do you need added coverage?
- Do you have plans to travel out of the country or from your coverage area?
Please pay close attention to all the factors listed above because they can help you choose the parts of Medicare that best suit you and the individual plans to consider.
While original Medicare provides cover for many services, it doesn’t cover every medical situation. For instance, long-term care isn’t covered under Medicare.
You’ll have to consider Medigap of Medicare Advantage if you need long-term care. However, you may get incomplete long-term care benefits.
Another example is prescription drugs; original Medicare does not cover them.
So, if you want prescription drug insurance cover, you’ll have to enroll in Medicare Advantage or Medicare Part D to get access to plans that cover prescription drugs.
When To Use Your Medicare Cards?
You need to take your Medicare card with you when you visit your doctor, pharmacy, hospital, collect prescription drugs, or receive health services.
This is why you must keep your Medicare care safe.
How To Protect Your Medicare Card?
You can store your Medicare card in a plastic ID card holder to protect it from getting worn out. This is a cheap solution that ensures your card is clean, visible and in great shape.
Alternatively, instead of moving about with your card when you visit the hospital, you can make photocopies and move around with them.
Can Medicare Pay For A Lift Chair?
If you need some form of assistance with sitting and getting out of your chair due to arthritis, aging or a type of mobility-limiting health condition, you might need a lift chair.
Lift chairs are so expensive, which is why several Medicare recipients are asking if their health insurance plan can cover the cost of getting a lift chair.
Medicare won’t pay the complete fee for your lift chair
However, Medicare Part B or Part C may cover the seat-lift mechanism, which is classified as a piece of durable medical equipment (DME) should your doctor decide that it’s a medical necessity that can help your condition.
How Do I Qualify For A Lift Chair?
Medicare won’t get you a lift chair. Though, you’re entitled to a seat lift mechanism if you meet the following criteria.
You must have either Medicare Parts B and C to be eligible.
Also, if you’re leveraging Medicare Advantage Plan for your Medicare benefits, contact your insurance provider about coverage costs, rules and suppliers to use when getting your life chair.
How Do I Replace My Medicare Card?
If your Medicare card was stolen, misplaced or destroyed, you can easily replace it.
You can reach out to Social Security Administration at 1-800-772-1213 or TTY: 1-800-325-0778 to get a replacement card.
However, if you haven’t created an account, you can begin the process on the website. It takes 30 days to get your replacement card in your mail.
To learn more about Medicare coverage, visit the Medicare coverage database online to gain more knowledge and help yourself make informed decisions.