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    Investigate Long- and Short-Term Disability Insurance

    If you are employed:

    • Check to see if your employer has a private disability insurance plan and contact your human resources department to investigate your eligibility, the cost of enrolling, and how much of your salary it will cover.

    If you are unable to continue working:

    • And you are too young to qualify for Social Security, consider state-run disability programs, unless you were enrolled in your employer's disability coverage.
    • And if your total income is below a certain level, you may qualify for federally subsidized Supplemental Security Income (SSI). If you collect SSI, regardless of your age, you are a candidate for Medicaid.

    Medicare and Medicaid

    What Is Medicare?

    Medicare is a federal health insurance program providing health care benefits to all Americans age 65 and over, as well as some disabled individuals under age 65. Eligibility for Medicare is linked to Social Security and railroad retirement benefits.

    Medicare has co-payments and deductibles. A deductible is an initial amount you are responsible for paying before Medicare coverage begins. A co-payment is a percentage of the amount of covered expense you are required to pay.

    What Are Medicare's Coverage Options?

    Medicare has two parts: Part A (hospital insurance) and Part B (medical insurance).

    Part A Medicare coverage includes:

    • All normal hospital services
    • Skilled nursing facility care
    • Some home health services
    • Medical supplies
    • Hospice services

    Part B Medicare coverage includes:

    • 80% of reasonable charges from doctors and other health care professionals (after the annual deductible is met)
    • Medically necessary ambulance services
    • Physical, speech, and occupational therapy
    • Some home health care services (doctor certification is necessary)
    • Medical supplies and equipment
    • Transfusion of blood and blood components provided on an outpatient basis
    • Out-patient surgery

    Part B Medicare benefits require that you pay a monthly premium. You must also be entitled to Part A benefits to receive Part B benefits.

    Medicare Coverage of Skilled Nursing Care Facilities

    In order to receive care in a nursing home under Medicare:

    • You must have had a three-day hospital stay prior to admission into the skilled nursing facility.
    • You must be admitted into the skilled nursing facility within 30 days of discharge from the hospital.
    • You must enter the skilled nursing facility for treatment of the same condition that you were hospitalized for.
    • You must require daily skilled care.
    • The condition must be one that can be improved.
    • The facility must be Medicare-certified.
    • Your doctor must write a care plan. The care plan must be carried out by the skilled nursing facility. (Once the skilled needs are met, Medicare will no longer pay for services.)
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