u Part D (Medicare prescription drug coverage) helps cover the cost of prescription drugs. Many people pay a premium for Part D. However, people with low income and resources may qualify for extra help from Social Security to pay the premium and deductible. To see if you qualify for extra help visit www.ssa.gov/prescriptionhelp.
Most people first become eligible for Medicare at age 65, and there is a monthly premium for Medicare Part B. In 2014, the premium for most people is $104.90, the same as it was in 2013. Some high-income individuals pay more than the standard premium. Your Medicare Part B premium also can be higher if you do not enroll when you are first eligible, also known as your initial enrollment period. There also is a Medicare Part B deductible of $147 in 2014.
You can delay your Medicare Part B enrollment without having to pay higher premiums if you are covered under a group health plan based on your own current employment or the current employment of any family member. You can sign up for Medicare Part B without paying higher premiums:
u In any month you are covered under a group health plan based on your own current employment or the current employment of any family member; or
u Within eight months after your employment or group health plan coverage ends, whichever comes first.
u If you are disabled and working (or you have coverage from a working family member), the same rules apply.
It’s important to note that people who have Medicare coverage are not affected by the Affordable Care Act. Medicare is not a part of the Affordable Care Act’s Health Insurance Marketplace. If you are a Medicare beneficiary, your Medicare benefits are not changing. You do not need to replace your Medicare coverage with Marketplace coverage. For more information about the Marketplace, visit www.healthcare.gov.
For more information about Medicare Parts A, B, C, and D, visit www.medicare.gov. Or read our publication on Medicare at www.socialsecurity.gov/pubs.
Charo Boyd is Social Security public affairs specialist for east central Indiana. Her column appears every other Monday on the Business page.