Medicare is a national health program designed and used primarily by seniors in the United States. People who are entitled to use the Medicare system are named after the beneficiaries. The US had nearly 47 million Medicare beneficiaries in 2010. But the term ‘beneficiary’ does not mean Medicare is offered at no cost. The beneficiaries must pay monthly premiums, co-payments and coinsurance charges for services and annual deductibles. There are several ways a person can qualify to become a Medicare beneficiary.

The Seniors

Most people qualify for Medicare because of their age. The system is open to any US citizen, 65 years or older. The permanent residents who are not citizens who have been living in the country for at least five years may also enroll in Medicare. Certain beneficiary groups are also eligible for Part A without premium. If you or your spouse is 65 years of age or older and have worked and paid Medicare taxes for a minimum of 10 years, or 40 credits, you can receive Part A without monthly premiums. You will remain responsible for all other charges. Part B is not offered free of premium home medical

People with Mobility

The individuals under the age of 65 may qualify for Medicare if they have disabilities or certain health conditions that also make them eligible for Social Security benefits. Anyone who receives Social Security disability payments because of illness, kidney failure or other qualifying disabilities may not only be enrolled in the Lou Gehrig program, but may also receive Part A benefits. Medicare beneficiaries of aged 65 with no or lower premium may find it difficult to find a Medicare Supplement Plans that would allow beneficiaries to join, however.

Qualified Medicare Beneficiaries

Low-income Medicare can receive help paying for system coinsurance, premiums, and deductibles through state Medicaid programs. Singles and couples earning less than a certain amount can be classified as Qualified Medicare Beneficiaries (QMB) who cannot hold assets in excess of a certain amount set by their state. If approved, Medicare will cover Part A costs of QMB and Part B premiums, deductibles, and coinsurance.

Specified Low-Income Medicare Beneficiaries and Qualified Members

Medicare beneficiaries who earn too much money to be classified as QMB but who still need help paying their health insurance can receive Medicaid help as specified by Low Income Medicare beneficiaries or Qualified Members. Income and asset limits are higher for these two categories, and beneficiaries can receive help paying their Part B premiums.

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