What is Medicare Supplement Insurance?
When an American citizen turns 65 years of age, they have the option to enroll in Medicare (they may also qualify before the age of 65 if they are eligible for disability benefits). Basic Medicare, which includes Parts A and B, cover most of your basic hospital and doctor expenses, respectively. Unfortunately, “most” does not mean “all”. The expenses which Medicare does not cover – sometimes referred to as “gaps” in coverage – are what Medicare Supplement insurance protects you from. It is a private plan designed to cover the medical expenses where Traditional Medicare falls short of the mark.
Who is Eligible for Medicare Supplement Insurance?
If any of the following scenarios apply to you, then you are already guaranteed “eligible” to purchase Medicare supplemental insurance:
You are currently covered under Medicare Parts A & B
You are within 6 months of turning 65
You are within 6 months of receiving Part B coverage
If you are about to lose your group health insurance plan
What Is Long-Term Care?
Long-term care involves a variety of services designed to meet a person’s health or personal care needs during a short or long period of time. These services help people live as independently and safely as possible when they can no longer perform everyday activities on their own.
Long-term care is provided in different places by different caregivers, depending on a person’s needs. Most long-term care is provided at home by unpaid family members and friends. It can also be given in a facility such as a nursing home or in the community, for example, in an adult day care center.
The most common type of long-term care is personal care—help with everyday activities, also called “activities of daily living.” These activities include bathing, dressing, grooming, using the toilet, eating, and moving around—for example, getting out of bed and into a chair.
Long-term care also includes community services such as meals, adult day care, and transportation services. These services may be provided free or for a fee.
People often need long-term care when they have a serious, ongoing health condition or disability. The need for long-term care can arise suddenly, such as after a heart attack or stroke. Most often, however, it develops gradually, as people get older and frailer or as an illness or disability gets worse.
Who Needs Long-Term Care?
It is difficult to predict how much or what type of long-term care a person might need. Several things increase the risk of needing long-term care.
Age. The risk generally increases as people get older.
Gender. Women are at higher risk than men, primarily because they often live longer.
Marital status. Single people are more likely than married people to need care from a paid provider.
Lifestyle. Poor diet and exercise habits can increase a person’s risk.
Health and family history. These factors also affect risk.