Offers Information and Resources on Government-Sponsored Health Insurance Programs

The MetLife Mature Market Institute has updated its Since You Care guide, Medicare and Medicaid Programs – The Basics. The publication, free to the public, has new information on Medicare Part B premiums, changes to the Medigap program pertaining to prescription drug benefits and the latest on Medicare Advantage and Medicare’s prescription drug plan. Included in the guide is a handy checklist to help people make informed decisions on which plans will best cover them.

"Those who are new to the Medicare and Medicaid systems may find them challenging," said Sandra Timmermann, Ed.D., director of the MetLife Mature Market Institute. "Individuals planning for retirement will find this publication helpful in understanding what’s covered by both the Medicare and Medicaid programs.

"People often confuse the two," said Timmermann. "While Medicaid is generally available only to those with low incomes, the majority of older Americans will be covered by Medicare if they, or their spouse, were in the workforce for a certain number of years, or if they have certain disabilities. Medicare is not all-inclusive; however, supplemental medical insurance may be needed and people should be aware that Medicare does have premiums and deductibles. Also, Medicare does not cover extended long-term care."

The guide also answers common questions regarding the distinction between Medicare Part A and Medicare Part B. While Part A primarily covers hospitalization and some services in a hospital, Part B, for the most part, covers medical and other services provided on an outpatient basis. In general, for those receiving Social Security, enrollment in Medicare Part A is automatic, effective the month a person turns 65. Enrollment in Medicare Part B is voluntary. The publication also explains Medicare Advantage, which individuals may select instead of original Medicare Part A and Part B.

  • Updates to the Medicare/Medicaid guide include the following: 
  • An explanation of changes to Medicare Part B premiums, which are now income based.
  • Individuals with incomes greater than $80,000 and couples with incomes greater than $160,000 will now pay more than the standard premium. 
  • Elimination of the Medigap prescription drug benefit with the inception of the Medicare prescription plan. 
  • Two new plans, Medigap Parts K and L, which have lower premiums, but higher out-of-pocket limits before paying 100% of co-insurance and co-payments. 
  • The addition of Medicare Medical Savings Account (MSA) plans, part of Medicare Advantage. 
  • Updated information on the Medicare Prescription Drug Plan. 
  • New resources with up-to-date contact information and content.

Created in 1965, Medicare now covers some 44 million older and disabled individuals. In 2003, 55 million individuals were covered under Medicaid. Both programs are administered by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), www.cms.gov, or toll-free, 1-800-633-4227 (TTY: 1-877-486-2048).

Established in 1996, the National Alliance for Caregiving is a nonprofit coalition of national organizations that focuses on issues of family caregiving across the life span. The Alliance was created to conduct research, do policy analysis, develop national programs and increase public awareness of family caregiving issues. Recognizing that family caregivers make important societal and financial contributions toward maintaining the well being of those for whom they care, the Alliance’s mission is to be the objective national resource on family caregiving with the goal of improving the quality of life for families and care recipients.


The MetLife Mature Market Institute is MetLife’s information and policy center on issues related to aging, retirement, long-term care and the mature market. Staffed by gerontologists, the Institute provides research, training and education, consultation and information to support MetLife, its corporate customers and business partners. MetLife is a subsidiary of MetLife, Inc. (NYSE: MET), a leading provider of insurance and financial services with operations throughout the U.S. and the Latin America, Europe and Asia Pacific regions.

To obtain a free copy of the Since You Care guide, Medicare and Medicaid Programs – The Basics, call 203-221-6580, send e-mail to maturemarketinstitute@metlife.com, or download it at www.maturemarketinstitute.com under ‘What’s New.’

For more on the MetLife Mature Market Institute, visit: www.maturemarketinstitute.com.


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Debra Caruso
Christine Bonney