What Is Medicare Part A
Medicare Part A is one of the four parts of Medicare that provides inpatient or hospital care coverage. Medicare Part A and Medicare Part B make up what is known as Original Medicare .
Medicare is a health insurance program for people over the age of 65. However, some people younger than 65 may qualify for Medicare if they have a disability or permanent kidney failure.
Do You Qualify For Railroad Retirement Benefits
The high-level criteria for receiving railroad retirement from the RRB is relatively simple. You qualify for railroad retirement benefits if you:
- performed creditable railroad service for 10 years.
- performed creditable railroad service for five years, if that work occurred after 1995.
The RRB also breaks down the benefits into tiers and awards them based on employee and employer tax withholdings. All qualified beneficiaries enter Tier I, but not all Tier I recipients have enough creditable earnings to receive Tier II benefits.
Benefits arent limited to full-time, daily employees workers get credit for a months worth of railroad service for any amount of time worked within that month, even if its a single days work. If you have any questions about your eligibility or benefits, contact your local RRB field office.
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What Does Medicare Part A Cover
Medicare Part A covers the following:
- Inpatient hospital care if a doctor deems it necessary to treat an injury or illness.
- Skilled nursing facility care if you have already had a qualifying hospital stay and still have days left in your benefit period.
- Long-term hospital care for people who need more than 25 days of care.
- Nursing home care, if it is not custodial care or long-term care.
- Hospice care if you are terminally ill and you sign away your rights to Medicare coverage for other treatments.
- Eligible home health care after a hospital stay including, but not limited to, part-time skilled nursing care, physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech-language pathology services, medical social services, and more.
If you wonder if Medicare covers a specific product or service, you can begin by discussing your options with your doctor. Your doctor may be able to help you find something that is covered.
You can also use the Medicare coverage search to learn the details of your coverage.
Medicare coverage is based on federal and state laws, national coverage decisions from Medicare, and coverage decisions made by companies that process Medicare claims.
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Railroad Retirement Board Benefits And Medicare
Before the Social Security Administration was formed, the Railroad Retirement Board developed retirement, disability, and unemployment benefits for railroad workers who were hit hard by the Great Depression. Today, the RRB offers railroad workers a similar safety net.
RRB beneficiaries can tap into Medicare benefits, much like Social Security beneficiaries, with a few differences. If you are a railroad worker, learn what you can expect from Medicare in terms of eligibility, enrollment, costs, and health benefitsand how your RRB benefits differ from Social Security benefits.
Primary Payer Vs Secondary Payer
When you have Medicare and another type of insurance, one will be the primary payer and one will be the secondary payer.
Primary insurance pays first for your medical bills, and secondary insurance pays after your primary insurance.
Typically, the primary payer pays up to the limits of its coverage and the secondary payer only pays if there are costs the primary insurer didnt cover. The secondary payer may not always pay all the uncovered costs.
If you have questions about whether Medicare is the primary or secondary payer in your situation, call the Benefits Coordination & Recovery Center at 1-855-798-2627 .
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What Is A Railroad Retirement Medicare Supplement
Its important to understand the difference between Medigap and Medicare Advantage because you cant have both types of plans. While Medicare Advantage plans cover additional health benefits, Medicare Supplement plans cover financial items such as copays and coinsurance.
Medigap plans offer eight different levels of coverage in 2020, and each level is assigned a letter. Note: People who enrolled prior to 2020 might have Plan C or Plan F. Plans that cover the Part B deductible will not be available to anyone newly eligible for Medicare in 2020.
If You Retire Before Age 65
In most cases, you cannot sign up for Medicare before you turn 65, even if you retire early.
If you have health insurance through your employers group health insurance plan, we recommend finding out whether you will lose those benefits when you retire.
Some companies allow employees to remain on their employer-provided health insurance plan after they retire, and some do not.
If you retire earlier than age 65 and lose your group health insurance coverage, you may consider enrolling in a private health insurance plan until you are eligible for Medicare.
Once you are enrolled in Medicare, you can drop your private insurance coverage.
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When Can I Start Collecting Railroad And Social Security Benefits
When you can start drawing your railroad retirement benefits depends on your years of service. You can begin receiving your benefits:
- At age 60, if you have 30 or more years of qualified work, or
- At age 62
Youll need to apply through your local RRB office when you decide to begin receiving your benefits. The agency will begin processing your application up to three months before your benefits start date, so make sure to plan.
Like Social Security, you may receive a reduced benefit amount if you start drawing from it before full retirement age. And like Social Security, that age is 67 for those born in 1960 or later.
If You Retire At Age 65
Youll likely be automatically enrolled in Original Medicare three months before your 65th birthday if youre already receiving Social Security or Railroad Retirement Board retirement benefits at least 4 months before you turn 65.
If you arent automatically enrolled in Original Medicare, you must manually enroll. The best time to manually enroll in Medicare is during your Medicare Initial Enrollment Period.
Typically, your Initial Enrollment Period begins three months before your 65th birthday, includes your birthday month, and ends three months after your 65th birthday.
Failure to sign up for Medicare during your Initial Enrollment Period could cause you to pay late enrollment penalties, resulting in permanently higher monthly premiums .
You can manually enroll in Original Medicare by:
- Visiting the Social Security website at www.SocialSecurity.gov
- Visiting your local Social Security office
Some people may qualify for Medicare before the age of 65 if they are receiving disability benefits from Social Security or the Railroad Retirement Board or have a qualifying medical condition such as ESRD.
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Medicare Part A And Group Coverage
Most people do not pay a premium for Medicare Part A, as long as they paid sufficient Medicare taxes while working.
If youre enrolled in premium-free Part A and are still on your employers group plan, your Part A coverage will not affect your group health insurance coverage, and you wont have to pay a premium for your Part A benefits.
Medicare Coverage For Railroad Retirees
When you become eligible for Social Security benefits or Railroad Retirement Benefits, you will qualify for Medicare due to age or disability. This happens when you turn 65 years old, or you may be under 65 and qualify due to having a disability. If you are enrolling in Medicare as a current or former railroad worker, you will need to follow specific steps to enrollment in Medicare.
Your enrollment in Original Medicare is handled by the Railroad Retirement Board not by the Social Security Administration. If you receive Railroad Retirement benefits or disability annuity benefits from the railroad at the time of eligibility for Medicare, you are automatically enrolled in Medicare Parts A and B by the RRB.
After the RRB automatically enrolls you, you receive your Medicare card together with a letter from the RRB explaining that you have been enrolled in Original Medicare Parts A and B. Your Medicare card is like the new Medicare cards that all beneficiaries receive, with the exception that Railroad Retirement Board is printed in a red banner at the bottom of the card.
If you are 65 and eligible for Medicare but not receiving RRB benefits at the time, contact your local field office to get enrolled in Medicare.
Medicare offers coverage to railroad employees just as it does for people who have Social Security. The payroll taxes of railroad employees include railroad retirement and Medicare hospital insurance taxes.
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Applying For A Railroad Retirement Annuity
Your Railroad Retirement annuity does not begin automatically you must apply for benefits by contacting the nearest Railroad Retirement Board office. To contact your local RRB office, call 772-5772 or use the RRB Zip Locator at www.rrb.gov to find the office nearest you.
Applications for a Railroad Retirement Annuity are accepted by the Railroad Retirement Board up to three months in advance of an annuity beginning date. Since the rules and requirements are complex, applicants should contact their local Board office for a pre-retirement consultation.
When Is A Railroad Retirement Board Annuity Paid
A Railroad Retirement annuity cannot be paid until the employee stops railroad employment and files an application to begin receiving his/her monthly annuity.
The earliest that Railroad Retirement benefits may begin is either age 60 with 30 years of qualifying railroad service, or age 62. If you have 30 years of railroad service, you are eligible to draw an unreduced Railroad Retirement benefit at age 60. Otherwise, retirement annuity reductions are applied to annuities awarded before full retirement age, which ranges from age 65 for those born before 1938 to age 67 for those born in 1960 or later. You may wish to contact a financial advisor to help you make the best decision.
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How Much Does Medicare Part A Cost
Is Medicare Part A free? In some cases, individuals can receive Medicare Part A without paying a premium, sometimes known as premium-free Medicare.
Who qualifies for free Medicare Part A? Most people will be eligible for premium-free Medicare.
If you are 65 and receive retirement benefits, are eligible to receive retirement benefits, or you or your spouse had Medicare-covered government employment, you will receive premium-free Medicare.
If you are under 65 and have received disability benefits for at least 24 months or have End-Stage Renal Disease, you will receive premium-free Medicare.
If you do not qualify for premium-free Medicare Part A, you can pay a premium of $274 or $499 per month in 2022, depending on how long you or your spouse worked and paid Medicare taxes. If you go this route, you will also have to purchase Medicare Part B.
Even if you qualify for premium-free Medicare Part A, you may still have to pay a health care deductible, copayment, or coinsurance.
For inpatient hospital care, the deductible is $1,556 in 2022 for each benefit period. For days 1-60, you do not have to pay coinsurance. For days 61-90, you have to pay $389 per day. For over 90 days, you have to pay $778 per day for up to 60 days, after which you will have to pay all costs.
There is no deductible for skilled nursing facility care. For days 1-20, you do not have to pay coinsurance. For days 21-100, you have to pay $194.50 per day in 2022. For over 100 days, you will have to pay all costs.
What You Should Know About Medicare And Retirement
Most people become eligible for Medicare at age 65, which is also the age at which many people retire. However, many American seniors are postponing retirement to continue working, and some are retiring early.
If youve retired or are approaching retirement age, you may have questions about how this will affect your Medicare coverage.
Below, we take a look at several scenarios to help you better understand your health insurance options whether you retire early, retire at 65, or continue working past the age of 65.
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Railroad Retirement Benefit Eligibility Requirements
According to Union Pacific, one of the major railroad companies in the United States, the earliest that Railroad Retirement benefits begin is either age 60 with 30 years of qualifying service, or age 62.
If you have less than 30 years of service, you must wait until full retirement age to receive full benefits. You may be eligible for reduced benefits if youre at least 62, but havent reached full retirement age, which ranges from 65-67 depending on when you were born. For example, full retirement age is 67 for anyone born after 1960.A
Another way you can qualify for Railroad Retirement Board benefits is through disability insurance. You must have at least 10 years of service to qualify for RRB disability insurance.
How To Request A Medicare Replacement Card
Your Medicare card is proof that you have Medicare health coverage and, as a beneficiary, is one of the most important documents you own. When you receive treatment you may be asked by your provider to show your Medicare card as proof of insurance.
If youre new to Medicare, you may be wondering how the process of requesting a Medicare card works. Youll typically get your Medicare card when you first apply for Medicare benefits. Most people qualify for Medicare when they turn 65, while some individuals may qualify at any age through disability or certain health conditions, such as end-stage renal disease or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis .
Signing up for Medicare and the timing of when you apply for Medicare works differently depending on how you qualify for Medicare and, in some cases, whether youre already receiving retirement benefits when you turn 65. This can all affect when you will receive your Medicare card.
Are you new to Medicare and wondering when you can expect your Medicare card in the mail? Or do you already have Medicare and need to replace a lost, stolen, or damaged Medicare card? Just scroll down to learn when your Medicare card will be mailed to you and how to request a Medicare card replacement.
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How Much Does Medicare Cost
Original Medicare is divided into Part A and Part B .
- Part A helps pay for inpatient hospital care, some skilled nursing care, home health care and hospice care.
- Part B helps pay for doctor services, outpatient hospital care, durable medical equipment, home health care not covered by Part A, and other services. Medicare was never intended to pay 100% of medical bills. Its purpose is to help pay a portion of medical expenses. Medicare beneficiaries also pay a portion of their medical expenses, which includes deductibles, copayments, and services not covered by Medicare. The amounts of deductibles and copayments change at the beginning of each year.
Part A – Monthly Premium
If you are eligible, Part A is free because you or your spouse paid Medicare taxes while you were working. You earn Social Security “credits” as you work and pay taxes. For each year that you work, you earn 4 credits.
You are 65 or older, and you receive or are eligible to receive full benefits fr om Social Security or the Railroad Retirement Board
You are under 65, and you have received Social Security disability benefits for 24 months You are under 65, and you have received Railroad Retirement disability benefits and you meet Social Security disability requirements You or your spouse had Medicare-covered government employment You are under 65 and have End-Stage Renal Disease