Medicare Part A – Hospital Insurance
Medicare Part A is the part of Medicare that everyone eligible receives. It covers inpatient hospital care, along with skilled nursing facility care, home health care and hospice facility care. It does not cover long term or custodial care. Most people do not have to pay a premium for this portion of coverage but there are co-pays involved for most services.
Medicare Part B – Medical Insurance
Medicare Part B is optional. The purpose of part B is to cover medically necessary services like doctors’ services, diagnostic tests, outpatient care, physical therapy and some preventive screenings. These are services that Part A does not cover.
Part B is optional. If you are still working, your employer’s insurance may cover this portion. If you are no longer insured by your employer, you will need to pay a premium to receive this coverage and is normally deducted from your social security check.
Medicare Part C – Medicare Advantage
Medicare Part C is the “private” portion of Medicare. In Part C, a private insurer has contracted with the government to take over the management of all of your Medicare benefits. You pay premiums directly to this private insurer. Your benefits are then all provided through this private insurer. That is the insurer pays claims on your behalf.
Part C is optional and you still have to pay the Part B premium. The difference is that your benefits are provided by a private insurer and not the government.
Both Medicare Advantage and Medicare supplemental insurance covers the gaps left by the original coverage. You do not need both. The difference is that Medicare Advantage pays instead of Medicare, whereas supplements pay AFTER Medicare pays. Please make certain that the Medicare Advantage Plan that you choose is accepted by your health care provider. Locally, some providers do not accept certain Medicare Advantage plans.
Medicare Part D – Prescription Coverage
Medicare Part D is the portion of the program which covers prescription drugs. It is offered through private companies. Part D is optional and requires you to pay a premium. This premium is paid directly to the private company and not the government. Please allow your local Senior center to help you evaluate and choose the Medicare Part D plan that is right for you. The plans change every year and the plan that worked for you this year might not be the best plan for you next year. Please make an appointment between October 15th and December 7th each year with your local Senior Center!
If you need Medicare supplemental, Medicare Advantage, or Medicare Part D coverage, you can find many sources online or at your local Senior Center.