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Seniors can learn more about Medicare coverage through LinkAge line, website

Published 3:57am Tuesday, May 28, 2013 Updated 6:04am Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Medicare is health insurance offered by the Federal government to people who are 65 or older, people under age 65 with certain disabilities, and people of any age with End Stage Renal Disease — permanent kidney failure requiring dialysis or a kidney transplant, who meet the eligibility requirements. Medicare helps pay for health care, but does not cover all medical expenses. The Medicare system is managed by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Medicare has four parts.

Medicare Part A or Hospital Insurance, helps pay for inpatient hospital care, and helps cover skilled nursing facility, hospice, and home health care.

Part A helps cover inpatient care in hospitals, such as critical access hospitals, inpatient rehabilitation facilities, and long term care hospitals.

Inpatient care in a skilled nursing facility (not custodial or long term care) Hospice care services and home health care services. Most people will not have to pay a monthly premium for Part A, because they or their spouse paid Medicare taxes while they were working.

Medicare Part B or Medical Insurance helps cover Medically necessary services: Services or supplies that are needed to diagnose or treat your medical condition and that meet accepted standards of medical practice.

Preventive services: Health care to prevent illness (like the flu) or detect it at an early stage, when treatment is most likely to work best.

You must sign up for Medicare Part B and pay a monthly premium, and yearly deductible.

The cost for the premium is deducted from your Social Security check. For 2013, Part B costs $104.90 per month. There is also a yearly deductible for Part B services of $147. After you pay the deductible, your Part B benefit begins.

In most cases a beneficiary will have a 20 percent co-pay. You may get help from your state paying your Medicare premiums.

In some cases, Medicare Savings Programs may also pay Medicare Part A and Medicare Part B deductibles, coinsurance, and copayments if you meet certain income and asset guidelines.

Medicare Part C or Medicare Advantage Plans (like HMOs and PPOs), offer health coverage options run by private insurance companies approved by and under contract with Medicare.

It includes Part A, Part B, and usually other coverage like prescription drugs.

Medicare Part D is the newest addition to Medicare.

It is a prescription drug option run by private insurance companies approved by and under contract with Medicare, that helps cover the cost of prescription drugs and may help lower your prescription drug costs and help protect against higher costs in the future.

You must be enrolled in Medicare before you can apply for Part D coverage.

This article is made possible with Older Americans Act dollars from the Land of the Dancing Sky Area Agency on Aging.

The Area Agencies provide a free information and assistance service called the Senior LinkAge Line that assists older adults and their caregivers with a variety of options for living independently.

Call the Senior LinkAge Line at 800-333-2433 to speak with an information specialist, or check out our website at


Karin Haugrud is a Senior LinkAge Line Specialist with Land of the Dancing Sky — West Central in Fergus Falls.

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