Medicare is a program that is funded by the United States of America and was created to provide healthcare benefits to people who are 65 or older, as well as certain younger people with disabilities. Due to the variety of options and coverage plans, Medicare can sometimes be a little tricky, so it’s important to get educated to determine the right plan for you. Let’s get started with the basics on Medicare to give you a better understanding.
Medicare has different parts that cover different things: Medicare Part A, Medicare Part B, Medicare Part C and Medicare Part D. Together, Part A and Part B are called original Medicare or traditional Medicare. Medicare Part C (also called Medicare Advantage) and Part D prescription drug coverage.
Part A: Medicare Part A (Hospital Insurance) helps cover inpatient care in hospitals, including critical access hospitals, and skilled nursing facilities (not custodial or long-term care). It also helps cover hospice care and some home health care. Beneficiaries must meet certain conditions to get these benefits.
Part B: Medicare Part B (Medical Insurance) helps cover doctors’ services and outpatient care. It also covers some other medical services that Part A doesn’t cover, such as some of the services of physical and occupational therapists, and some home health care. Part B helps pay for these covered services and supplies when they are medically necessary.
Part C: Medicare Part C is also called Medicare Advantage. It is an alternative to Original Medicare (Parts A and B).Medicare Advantage plans are offered by private insurance companies contracted by Medicare. You must be enrolled in both Part A and Part B to join a Medicare Advantage plan. You remain enrolled in Medicare Parts A and B, but you receive your benefits through the plan instead of through Original Medicare.
Part D: This coverage helps lower prescription drug costs and helps protect against higher costs in the future. Medicare Prescription Drug Coverage is insurance. Private companies provide the coverage. Beneficiaries choose the drug plan and pay a monthly premium. Like other insurance, if a beneficiary decides not to enroll in a drug plan when they are first eligible, they may pay a penalty if they choose to join later.