Looking for Regional Information?

Health Insurance for Senior Citizens: A Brief Overview

By Charles Hopkins Published 11/2/2006 | Health
All through working life we keep on fantasizing about the retirement days! All our dreams get shattered, however, if we are not adequately equipped to deal with the requirements of old age. When you are young, your body is strong enough to fight against all kinds of assaults. This fighting power of the body diminishes with growing age, and this can be the time when you need medical attention more frequently to keep the system moving along comfortably. As such, health insurance becomes the major component of a happy and healthy retired life.

In the USA, as you attain the age of sixty-five, you become eligible for social security, and also qualify to receive Medicare health insurance coverage.

Medicare is a federal health insurance program. It was created in 1965 as a health insurance program for seniors. The program was made a part of retirement and survivors benefits, available to qualifying senior citizens through Social Security.

A few years later, Medicare expanded its scope. The added scope of this plan included the patients diagnosed with end-stage renal disease (ESRD) who require continuing dialysis or a kidney transplant. However, the people aged 65 or more who had been excluded from the program due to disqualifying work history were now allowed to purchase the Medicare program.

The entire Medicare program can be divided into two major parts:

Part A and Part B.

Part A relates to hospital insurance that covers your expenses in cases of hospitalization, when you need skilled nursing facility care. It also covers certain home health care, as well as covering the expense when you need blood.

The Part B involves medical insurance that covers a myriad of medical expenses. Through this insurance, your expenses of physicians fees, diagnostic tests, and the costs of medicines and durable medical equipment are covered. This insurance also covers your expenses related to certain home health care; outpatient hospital treatment, medically necessary ambulance services and blood. You also get preventive screening benefits from this insurance.

There is also Part C and Part D. Part C is the optional clause that allows you to get the health care services from their chosen private HMO or indemnity insurance plan.

Part D is the latest inclusion in the Medicare program to offer certain relief to the seniors on fixed incomes to get the medication they require. This is a kind of prescription drug plan that has to be bought separately from Medicare.

There are certain instances where some patients may need more coverage than offered by Medicare. In this situation they have to purchase additional private insurance that supplements Medicare. This is referred to as Medigap insurance as they are meant to fill in the gaps that Medicare leaves.

Medigap policies can be customized according to unique individual needs for medical assistance. Usually, the Medigap insurances would cover deductibles, prescriptions, and long-term hospital care. Some of the Medigap insurance will cover the expenses for nursing home stays.

The premiums of Medigap insurance depend on the level of coverage. To get varying coverage from Medigap insurances, you have to pay higher premiums. However, one of the most important features of Medigap is that you can renew the program any time as long as you regularly pay the premiums.

As far as the senior citizens are concerned, the Medicare coverage provides them a guarantee of healthy retired life. However, if you can afford it, you can buy additional coverage to take full advantage of the advancements in modern health care.