Medicare Buy-In

CRAIN'S COMMENTS

The general rule is that a person in the US has to be age 65 or older or classified as disabled by Social Security in order to receive health coverage from Medicare.

Well, that’s true for now, but it may change.

Medicare “Buy-in” programs already exist that allow states to make Medicare coverage available to people age 65 and over who cannot afford the monthly premium. Now there are bills in Congress to expand the buy-in concept.

For this to make sense, let’s review the basics of Medicare and Medicare costs.

Technically, Medicare has 4 parts:

  • Part A is major medical insurance (hospitalization, in-patient surgery, etc.) to which most people earn the right through working a requisite number of quarters (40 quarters or 10 years) and having a Medicare tax deducted from earnings. If one has only 30-39 quarters of taxes paid, the monthly fee for Part A is $259…

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