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There are parts of Medicare and then there are plans for Supplemental insurance.
PARTS: There is Medicare Part A that you paid into as you have worked — if you worked 40 quarters then you get Medicare A at no charge to you — Medicare A covers hospitalization.
There is Medicare Part B, which has a premium of $134 or higher depending on your income; there is also a yearly deductible of $183 for Medicare B. Medicare B covers doctor appointments, lab work and outpatient services. If you do not enroll in Medicare B when you are first eligible and then decide to enroll after six months to a year of turning 65, you will have a substantial penalty that stays with you forever.
Medicare Part C — or Medicare Advantage — is when you choose to no longer have regular Medicare A and B but choose to have insurance instead. In the Sheridan area, our only choice for Medicare Part C is United Healthcare. The premium for Medicare B goes to United Healthcare and you might have to pay an additional amount toward your premium. Medicare Part C has a plan that covers drugs too. Medicare Part C is less expensive but you have copays that can add up.
And finally, there is Medicare Part D which covers your drugs. The premium runs from $17 a month on up — the are several plans available — some have deductibles and others do not. If you choose not to enroll in Medicare Part D when you are first eligible, you will be penalized and that stays with you for the rest of your life.
PLANS: Medicare Parts A and B covers 80 percent of your healthcare costs and you are responsible for the rest.
Then, there are plans from insurance companies that can cover the 20 percent left over. The plans are A, B, C, D, F, G, K, L, M and N. They have different premiums and cover the 80 percent differently. Most people choose Plan F or Plan G for their supplement.
If you have more questions be sure to call me at 674-7283. You can also call Gwen Burgess at the Sheridan Senior Center at 672-2240 and Gwen can connect you to someone with your questions.
Nancy Drummond is the service coordinator at Heritage Towers, 428 N. Jefferson St. Center Stage is written by friends of the Senior Center for the Sheridan Community. It is a collection of insights and stories related to living well at every age.