Medicare 2011

Medicare is a topic our Care Advisors receive a lot of questions about each week. What is Part A? Do I have Part B? How much does it cost to have Part B and what does it cover? The list of questions goes on...

During the first few months of the year, most questions revolve around changes in deductibles and premiums. Bottom line - how much more is everything going to cost me?

Part A covers inpatient hospital stays, rehab at a skilled nursing community, hospice and home health care (if certain criteria are met). These deductibles did increase in 2010.

For days 1 - 60 of an inpatient hospital stay, the deductible went up $32 to $1,100.  For days 61 - 90, there is also an additional daily deductible of $275. Once you are in the hospital beyond 90 days, you dip in to your lifetime reserve days and your daily deductible increases to $550.

If you find yourself in need of rehab in a skilled nursing community, your first 20 days are still covered in full. But, the deductible for days 21 - 100 is $137.50.

Most people don't have to pay a premium for Medicare Part A because they or their spouse met the 40 quarters of Medicare-covered employment requirement. For Part B, the premium ranges from $96.40 to $353.60 depending upon your income. Most Medicare recipients fall in to the $96.40 premium.

Every year, Medicare publishes a "Medicare and You" booklet that outlines coverages, updates you on changes, and answers the most frequently asked questions. The link is: http://www.medicare.gov/Publications/Pubs/pdf/10050.pdf

Medicare also allows you to sign up for their RSS feed to automatically receive their updates now. Go to www.medicare.gov to sign up.