Medicare and You (the Christian Scientist)
Guest post by Mark Waterson
This post was updated on June 22, 2016 .
Even the name sounds anathema to Christian Science. You can’t hear “Medicare” without thinking “medical,” so it is something best avoided, right?
Well, this would be a short article if this was true.
Working in the Business Office for Broadview for nearly a decade, I can safely say that no financial vehicle – and make no mistake, Medicare is a financial vehicle – has been more beneficial in helping Christian Scientists receive care that is consistent with the theology of Christian Science, than Medicare.
Since Medicare’s inception in 1966, Christian Science has been a covered benefit for all Social Security recipients. Provisions in the law prohibit the involvement of a physician, application of medical procedures or administration of drugs to individuals who have selected to use Christian Science benefits.
The law was written to allow true Christian Science nursing to flourish without interference from the medical community. Such recognition not only allows patients to pursue healing, but also protects patients and family members alike who might be seen as “doing nothing.”
Ultimately (and obviously) one’s decision about what type of care fits best is an individual decision. At Broadview, care is provided regardless of who pays for it (in other words, individuals, insurance, or some other means). For Christian Scientists placing “radical reliance on Truth” (see Science and Health page 167) for healing, Medicare is a financial option to achieve this goal.
Key Points about Medicare
- Three ways to sign up, starting at age 64 years, 9 months:
- Call Social Security – 1-800-772-1213
- Visit your local Social Security office – https://secure.ssa.gov/ICON/main.jsp
- When you enroll, you will be automatically enrolled in Parts A and B
- If you do not wish to pay for Part B, you have to proactively decline it
- If you initially decline Part B, but decide you want it later, there is a penalty to enroll down the road
- Medicare has four “parts”
- Part A
- Also known as “inpatient hospital” coverage.
- Broadview is a Medicare provider, but not all Christian Science nursing facilities participate in the program. Eligible patients at Broadview (see Paying for Care) are able to use their benefits from Part A to pay for care.
- Part B
- Medical coverage, i.e., doctor visits, medical procedures, etc.
- Part C
- Officially known as Medicare Advantage.
- Provides Medicare benefits (often bundled with other services like health club memberships, dental coverage, etc.) through third-party insurers.
- If you are enrolled in Medicare Advantage, it is best to contact us to discuss your individual situation. If you are considering enrolling in this and would like to contact us, we’d be happy to speak with you.
- Part D
- Prescription drug coverage.
- Part A
- Some insurance vehicles (such as Medicare Supplement polices) may require enrollment in both Parts A and B.
Costs and Benefits of Medicare Coverage
- Benefits for Christian Science care include 60 covered days in a participating facility for a specified deductible (see our rates page for details)
- Whether you need one day of care or 60 days, you do not pay more than the specified deductible.
- This 60-day benefit can be reused as many times as needed, provided that the patient is out of the facility, or at a lower level of care, for more than 60 days; a new deductible would also be required for any readmission.
- All services are included in this fee.
- Additional coverage days are available at a per-day deductible up to 150 days.
- A patient must “elect” to use his/her Medicare benefits at a Christian Science facility (Broadview provides the necessary paperwork upon admission).
- At any point, an individual may leave and seek traditional medical care without penalty; however, subsequent Christian Science care benefits may be limited.
For more information on admission requirements at Broadview, rates, or paying for care, please visit our Admissions page.