Even if you have never had any personal experience with it, nearly everyone has heard the term Medicare thrown around at one point or another. Medicare is a type of government health insurance designed for those who are 65 years of age or older or have a qualifying disability. Like every insurance plan, it has its own, unique specifications as to what it covers and does not cover. Within Medicare, there are optional parts that can be included making the variance in coverage even broader. There are four parts to Medicare coverage, some required and some optional, that determine what a Medicare policy covers.
The first part of Medicare coverage is Part A which covers hospital insurance and is provided directly by the government. It covers most inpatient hospital care and can either be free or provided for a monthly premium depending on your history of paying social security taxes.
The next part of Medicare coverage is Part B which is medical insurance and is also provided directly by the government. This portion of Medicare covers medical costs related to doctors’ services, supplies, and outpatient care. For Part B coverage, you will be charged a monthly premium. Together, Parts A and B make up the original Medicare coverage. Part C and Part D, as discussed below, are optional or alternative types of coverage.
The third part of Medicare, Part C, is also known as Medicare Advantage. If you elect to enroll in Medicare Advantage, your Part A and Part B coverage will be provided by a private insurance company instead of the government directly. It also typically includes coverage for prescription drugs, which original Medicare does not. In addition to the coverage being provided by a different company, Medicare Advantage also has its own set of rules and pricing.
The final part of Medicare is Part D, prescription drug coverage. Like Part C, independent companies that contract with Medicare provide Part D coverage instead of the government itself. While Part D coverage is not necessary if you have a Medicare Advantage policy, you can purchase Part D coverage as a standalone coverage if you have original Medicare. You can only buy Part D coverage in conjunction with a Medicare plan that correlates with it.
If you have Medicare currently or are considering enrolling in Medicare, it is important to know your different options and the coverage that you have. Medicare will provide you with an insurance card that will indicate your type of coverage, so if you are enrolled currently and are unsure of your coverage, check your card. If you are considering enrolling do not hesitate to speak with an health insurance professional today.