Social Security Column
In July, communities everywhere celebrate our nationís
independence with fireworks, family, and friends. A strong
community also creates independence as we help each other
recognize our full potential. Social Security has been
helping people maintain a higher quality of life and a level
of independence for over 80 years.
And Medicare has been doing the same for over five decades.
Most people first become eligible for Medicare at age 65.
For many older Americans, this is their primary health
insurance and without it, they might not enjoy an
independent lifestyle. Medicare can be a little confusing to
newcomers so weíve broken it down into segments. The four
parts of Medicare are as easy as A, B, C, and D.
(Hospital Insurance) helps cover inpatient hospital care,
skilled nursing care, hospice care, and home health care.
Most people get Medicare Part A premium-free since it is
earned by working and paying Social Security taxes.
(Medical Insurance) helps cover services from doctors and
other outpatient health care providers, outpatient care,
home health care, durable medical equipment, and some
preventive services. Most people pay a monthly premium for
Part B. Some high-income individuals pay more than the
standard premium. If you donít enroll in Medicare Part B
during your initial enrollment period and then decide to do
so later, your coverage may be delayed and you may have to
pay a higher monthly premium for as long as you have Part B.
(Medicare Advantage) allows you to choose to receive all of
your health care services through a provider organization.
This plan includes all benefits and services covered under
Part A and Part B, usually includes Medicare prescription
drug coverage, and may include extra benefits and services
at an extra cost. You must have Part A and Part B to
enroll in Part C. Monthly premiums vary depending on the
state where you live, private insurer, and whether you
select a health maintenance organization or a preferred
(Medicare prescription drug coverage) helps cover the cost
of prescription drugs. Many people pay a premium for Part D.
However, people with low income and resources may qualify
for Extra Help to pay the premium and deductible. If
you donít enroll in a Medicare drug plan when youíre first
eligible, you may pay a late enrollment penalty if you join
a plan later. You will have to pay this penalty for as long
as you have Medicare prescription drug coverage. To see if
you qualify for extra help visit
Will you be age 65 soon? Even if you decide not to retire,
you should apply for Medicare. You can apply in less than 10
minutes using our online Medicare application. Visit
to learn more about applying for Medicare.