Let's face it, even though Medicare provides health coverage for 49 million Americans, the program itself isn't all that easy to understand. That's why AARP Illinois State President Merri Dee and AARP Illinois staff member and Medicare expert Courtney Hedderman got together this week to do some Q&A with about 1500 of our members through a telephone town hall forum. Here are some of the questions asked during the call and the answers.
Q1: "I've heard that the new health care law makes changes to Medicare, can you explain those changes?"
A1: Since the implementation of the Affordable Care Act or "Obamacare," there are free annual checkups and many preventative services with no copays and no deductibles. Listen to a full list of benefits by playing the sound cloud below.
[soundcloud url="http://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/102581639" params="" width=" 100%" height="85" iframe="true" /]
Q2: Susan from Park Ridge asks, "If a person is not a citizen of the United States, are they still eligible for Medicare?"
A2: Those who have paid into Medicare via payroll taxes would be eligible, but there are some gray areas...listen to learn more. [soundcloud url="http://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/102445002" params="" width=" 100%" height="85" iframe="true" /]
Q3: Elinor wants to know, "For those who have higher incomes, is there going to be a higher Medicare premium?"
A3: Those who have incomes over $85,000 and couples who make more than $170,000 could pay more under some proposals currently being considered in Washington. Listen to Courtney give us the lowdown on that.
[soundcloud url="http://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/102448500" params="" width=" 100%" height="85" iframe="true" /]
Q4: Pearl wonders, "If I already have prescription drug coverage because I was a state employee, do I need to buy Medicare Part D?"
A4: The quick answer is no - if you have prescription drug coverage currently provided to you, you won't have to buy into Part D and you won't be penalized if your coverage ends. However, if your current coverage terminates, you may have to pick a new Medicare Part D plan and prove that you were covered to avoid the penalty. For more details listen below.
[soundcloud url="http://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/102450255" params="" width=" 100%" height="85" iframe="true" /]
Q5: George asks, "Is there a monthly premium for Medicare and how much is it?"
A5: Most people don't have to pay for Medicare Part A if they worked a certain number of years, but there is a premium for Medicare Part B. Depending on your income, Part B premiums start at $104.90 and it's taken directly from your Social Security check. To learn more, listen below as Courtney gets into supplemental plans and Medicare Part D costs.
[soundcloud url="http://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/102451912" params="" width=" 100%" height="85" iframe="true" /]
Thanks for all the great questions. If you still didn't get enough you can click below to listen to the full town hall forum, and if you have a question we haven't answered yet feel free to leave it in the comments or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
[soundcloud url="http://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/102133600" params="" width=" 100%" height="85" iframe="true" /]