Medicare is a type of insurance that is offered to people who are 65 and older and who also meet certain eligibility requirements. Patients who are younger than 65 but who have certain disabilities or diseases may also qualify for Medicare. It is important to remember that Medicare will not cover all of your medical expenses. Medicare is offered by the federal government, and is managed by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. This article will provide patients who are new to Medicare with a simple guide to Medicare basics.
Medicare has four parts: Part A, B, C and D. Each part is explained below:
Part A. Part A is the original Medicare insurance coverage. It helps pay your hospital bills. You are automatically enrolled in Part A when you sign up for Medicare. Most people will not have to pay a monthly premium for Medicare, but if you or your spouse did not pay Medicare taxes while working, a premium will apply. Part A covers such items as hospital rooms, nursing services, and hospice care.
Part B. Part B is a supplemental insurance option that pays for physician services and supplies. It covers such items as doctor visits, lab tests, ambulance services, physical therapy and medical equipment. You must pay a monthly premium for Part B of Medicare, and there is a yearly deductible. The cost for the premium will be deducted from your Social Security check. There is also a 20 percent co-payment for services and supplies.
Part C. Part C of Medicare consists of private health plans that are approved by Medicare. These are referred to as Advantage Plans. They provide all of your Part A and Part B coverage as well as coverage for medically-necessary services. They generally offer extra benefits, and sometimes even include Part D drug coverage (see below). Often these plans are “in-network”, meaning you will be limited to the doctors and hospitals in your plan. Medicare Advantage Plans can save you money, but make sure you compare costs. Advantage Plans can include PPOs, HMOs, PFFS (private fee for service) and others.
Part D. Part D is your prescription drug coverage. You will pay a monthly premium and the coverage can help lower your prescription drug costs. This coverage is provided by private companies. Again, make sure you compare costs before enrolling, as there are many drug plans to choose from. Your choice should be guided by the types of medications you require and the coverage offered by each plan.
I hope you found this information helpful. Please see www.medicare.com for a more in-depth guide to your Medicare benefits.