Medicare Simplified

Medicare is, very simply, America’s health insurance program for people age 65+ and those under age 65 with certain disabilities. Medicare has provided valuable benefits to older Americans for the past 47 years. 

Medicare has four parts:

  • Part A - hospital insurance
  • Part B - medical insurance
  • Part C - also known as Medicare Advantage Plans
  • Part D - prescription drug coverage.

Most people get Part A automatically when they turn age 65. They don't have to pay a monthly premium for Part A because they or a spouse paid Medicare taxes while they were working. Most people pay monthly for Part B. There are also costs associated with Parts C and D. 

In general, people enrolling in Medicare can either:

  • Enroll in Parts A and B (called “Original Medicare”), then consider purchasing Part D and/or a Medicare Supplement (Medigap) plan, or
  • Enroll in a Medicare Advantage Plan, which combines Part A, Part B, and usually Part D. These plans are offered by private companies. 

For 2013 plans, the annual enrollment period for Medicare products is October 15, 2012, to December 7, 2012.

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Nebraska has offered Medicare Supplement health plans to Nebraskans since the program was introduced in 1966. In 2013, the company will offer both a Part D prescription drug plan and six Medicare Supplement (Medigap) plans. To learn more, call 877-444-2583.