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Navigating the System: When You’re a Senior (65+)
- Hospital insurance (Part A): a service that helps pay for inpatient hospital care, care in a skilled nursing facility following a hospital stay, and some home health and hospice care
- Medical insurance (Part B): a service requiring a monthly premium that helps pay for doctors’ services and some other medical services and supplies not covered by Part A
- Medicare Advantage (Part C): a service requiring a monthly premium that provides more choices and extra benefits than Part A and Part B
- Prescription drug coverage (Part D): a service requiring a monthly premium that helps pay for prescribed medications
Supplemental Health Insurance
- Medicare provides a comprehensive online guide to choosing a Medigap policy. Section 4, “Steps to Buying a Medigap Policy,” provides worksheets to help you figure out which type you need, as well as how to find out which insurance companies offer policies in your state and how to contact and compare them.
- Or call 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227) to speak with a Medicare customer service representative.
Health Services for Seniors
- Home healthcare—Home healthcare is an alternative to hospitalization or nursing home care for patients who do not need around-the-clock supervision. Additional information can be obtained from the National Association for Home Care and Hospice and the Visiting Nurse Associations of America.
- State Health Insurance Counseling and Assistance Programs (SHIP)—SHIP programs have counselors in every state who provide free one-on-one help for Medicare beneficiaries with Medicare question or problems.
- Services for caregivers— The National Family Caregiver Support Program provides information and assistance about services that complement the care given by the caregiver (usually a spouse). These supplemental services include home modifications, equipment and supplies, and transportation. In addition, there are support groups available for caregivers.
- Support for Alzheimer’s disease patients and their families—Many communities have day care programs for Alzheimer’s patients, as well as family support groups, physical and speech therapy, nutrition counseling, and home care services.
Administration on Aging http://www.aoa.gov/
Medicare Helpful Contacts Medicare http://www.medicare.gov/
Healthy Alberta http://www.healthyalberta.com/
2012 choosing a Medigap policy: a guide to health insurance for people with medicare. Medicare website. Available at: http://www.medicare.gov/Publications/Pubs/pdf/02110.pdf. Updated December 2011. Accessed August 6, 2012.
Medicare. Social Security Administration website. Available at: http://www.ssa.gov/pubs/10043.html. Accessed August 6, 2012.
Medigap: Your supplemental insurance. AARP website. Available at: http://www.aarp.org/health/medicare-insurance/info-01-2011/understanding%5Fmedicare%5Fmedigap.html. Published January 1, 2011. Accessed August 6, 2012.
Prescription drug coverage: basic information. Medicare website. Available at: http://www.medicare.gov/pdp-basic-information.asp. Accessed August 6, 2012.
Your Medicare coverage choices. Medicare website. Available at: http://www.medicare.gov/Choices/Overview.asp. Accessed August 6, 2012.
- Reviewer: Brian P. Randall, MD
- Review Date: 08/2012