How Well Do You Know Medicare

Sponsored by: Fano Insurance Services

Check your knowledge by answering this simple, basic knowledge questions.

-          What is Medicare?

Medicare was created through the title XVIII of the "Social Security Act" in 1965 and became effective in 1966. The program, administered by the Federal Government, was originally created to provide medical coverage for qualifying individuals age 65 and older and the disabled.

-          What are the qualification requirements?

Earning 40 credits through paying payroll taxes at work will ensure that you will not have to pay premiums for your PART A coverage (Hospital Insurance). If you did not work for about 10 years you may still qualify through your spouses' work record or pay premiums to make up the missing time.

-          Do I need to qualify for Part A in order to purchase Part B?

Medicare PART B covers your basic doctor services, outpatient care and medical equipment. Medicare PART D is your prescription drug plan. You do not need any work credits to qualify, provided that you are 65 or older, are a US citizen or legal resident who has lived in the US for at least five years.

-          Do I need Part B? 

Delaying your enrollment in PART B when the time is right for you might result in late penalties. The surcharge will be added to your premium for all future years.

You may delay enrolling in PART B without penalties if you have health coverage through your or your spouses' employer.

-          Do I have to wait until I reach full retirement age to sign up?  

You need to sign up at age 65 unless you qualify for employer health insurance exception. Most of all you do not need to be collecting retirement benefits to qualify for enrollment.

-          What is Part D important if I do not take prescription medications? 

Like all insurance products, Medicare PART D will not allow you to wait until it becomes urgent to sign up. Some medications could cost you thousands each month.

-          Do I have to wait until open enrollment to sign up for Medicare?

Open enrollment (October 15th - December 7th) allows people that are currently enrolled in the program to change the coverage for the following year.

-          What is MediGap?

Medigap is a supplemental insurance designed to purchase extra coverage to cover some or most of out-of-pocket expenses found in traditional Medicare PART A OR B.

-          Can I wait until later to purchase a MediGap Policy?

Yes you can. But waiting can be costly in the long run. If you buy a Medigap policy within 6 months of enrolling in PART B (or any other qualifying events) the insurer cannot deny coverage or charge higher premiums.

-          This is too expensive for me! Can I get any financial help? 

Yes you could. If you are in a lower income situation there are Federal or State programs that might help. Make sure you check ""  for current incentives such as the "Medicare Savings Program".

I am sure that you correctly answered most of the questions and this was nothing but an easy pass-time at the doctor's office. The intent of this article is not to provide a full resource for all of your Medicare concerns, but to raise awareness on the constant changes in today's health care. Take the time to educate yourself before making any choices. Do not just rely on your neighbor's advice. Contact a Medicare professional and always visit MEDICARE.GOV for any concerns.