by Amy Jasper
Most people want to live a long life, right? Based on current life expectancy rates and the opportunities to live a healthy lifestyle, many people will do just that. But ironically the desire to be around a long time is often accompanied by denial about what is to come in the years ahead. Whether you are 76 or 25 years old or anywhere in between, you need to be fully aware of issues and concerns that are important to you now and in the future.
One important issue is understanding the purpose of Medicare and Medicaid and the difference between the two. By definition, Medicare is health insurance for people age 65 or older, under age 65 with certain disabilities, and any age with End-Stage Renal Disease. Most people are automatically enrolled in Part A, hospital insurance, and don’t have to pay a monthly premium if they or a spouse paid Medicare taxes while they were working. Medicare Part B is optional and helps cover doctor services, outpatient care, and other medical services that Part A doesn’t cover. Most people will pay the standard monthly Part B premium, ($96.40 for 2010), but some people will pay a higher premium based on their income. (This information is taken from the official government booklet, “Your Medicare Benefits”). There are also optional drug plans available.