SSI vs. Mediare: What You Need To Know

Medicare is the main government-funded healthcare program for qualified U.S. residents who are sixty-five years or older or have serious disabilities. Medicare health insurance coverage is either free or made available at reduced prices to those who qualify. The program is facilitated by the U.S. Social Security Administration.

Medicare is made available in four (4) primary parts. Each part covers different aspects of patient healthcare needs. Continue reading about the Medicare program, supplemental security income (SSI) benefits and how the two programs work together.

Medicare 101
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The U.S. Medicare program was initiated in 1965 as part of the Dependents’ Care Act (DCA) by former President Lyndon B. Johnson. The program U.S. residents are familiar with today was originally modified as part of the Social Security Act Amendments. The program provides healthcare insurance through the federal government to qualified recipients. Medicare qualification requirements are pursuant to age, legitimate taxpayer status and the presence of certain serious disabilities or illnesses.

Medicare is also part of the U.S. Social Security Administration. When you are born the U.S. Social Security Services (SSA) assigns you a Social Security Number (SSN). You keep the same SSN for your entire life. This number helps you receive your paychecks, establish credit, open bank accounts, and receive applicable government benefits. While it is true the SSA and Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) are two distinctly different organizations, they also work in-tandem with each other to ensure qualified U.S. residents obtain the healthcare coverage they need.

Medicare plans are categorized in four parts. These parts are officially referred to as Medicare Part A, Part B, Part C and Part D respectively. Medicare Parts A and B are referred to as “Original Medicare.” This means they were part of the Medicare program at its inception in 1965.

Medicare Part A covers expenses pursuant to inpatient hospital stays. Medicare Part A also covers hospice center and nursing home facility stays, provided specific conditions are met and approved by the program. Medicare Part B covers expenses related to terminal and other severe medical issues.

For example, kidney dialysis, chemotherapy, Pneumococcal vaccines, and additional services are covered under Part B plans.

Part C is also referred to as Medicare Advantage. This plan covers a combination of services covered in Parts A and B combined. Medicare Part C coverage is also provided mostly by third-party insurance companies who participate in the Medicare plan under contract with the federal government. 

These third-party companies are required to uphold federal standards and adhere to federally mandated regulations. It is still necessary to spend time researching the best Part C provided for you because lower rates might be available through alternate providers.

Medicare Part D was added to the overall program in 2006. This plan covers prescription medications and certain insulin-related supplies and expenses. How do your SSI benefits apply to your Medicare enrollment? Read the next slide for information on how to enroll in Original Medicare today.

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