Medicare Parts Explained 2018
Are you new to Medicare? Medicare is a federal government program designs to benefit those 65+ as well as those with certain disabilities. Unfortunately, it isn’t always easy to understand the different parts of Medicare, especially as they exist today. You’ll need to do your research to make sure you’re getting the right coverage and care for your needs! Whether you’re new to Medicare or you want to brush up on recent changes in 2018, this guide is for you!
The most complicated aspect of Medicare is that it has many different parts. In order to understand how Medicare can benefit you is to understand the parts of Medicare. From there, you can learn more about the different plans under Medicare and how they provide supplemental coverage as needed. The parts and plans will all make more sense once you recognize the different definitions!
Medicare Part A
Part A of Medicare is your hospital coverage. It will pay for things like inpatient hospitals, skilled nurses, blood care, home health, and hospice. Under Medicare Part A, during a hospital stay you will receive a partially private hospital room, 3 meals a day, skilled nursing care, blood transfusions, and hospice care. In basic terms, this is your room and board should you ever need a hospital stay. Even if you’re in the hospital, some additional care might be covered under Medicare Part B which is what we will take a look at next!
Medicare Part B
Part B of Medicare is your outpatient coverage. Though room and board and a small selection of care during a hospital stay is covered under Part A, additional treatment is included under Part B coverage. This coverage includes things like doctor visits, physical therapy, surgeries, ambulance rides, lab work, chemotherapy, and more complex testing. You can think of Part B as your traditional medical coverage.
Part C Medicare
Both Part C and Part D Medicare came later to include additional coverage. Part C is known as Medicare Advantage and it’s an optional form of coverage. Under Medicare Advantage, you can get your Part A and Part B benefits under a private insurance provider rather than through Medicare. Because Medicare Advantage isn’t a part of Medicare, you don’t have to enroll in this through your social security office.
As you’ve seen above, Medicare Part A and B don’t necessarily cover the full extent of your medical care. Because of this, many Medicare-eligible people choose to purchase supplemental coverage through a Medicare Part C plan with a private insurance company. By enrolling in a Medicare Advantage plan, you’ll receive Part A and B coverage through a private network of providers. To learn more about how to qualify for Medicare Advantage, see: What Is Medicare Part C?
Part D Medicare
Part D is essentially your pharmacy card. This is your coverage for any prescription drugs that you might need from your local pharmacy. Like Part C, Medicare Part D is a voluntary program that isn’t necessary for all Medicare members. Some members are able to receive prescriptions through another service, for instance, if they are a veteran, and they choose to opt out of Medicare Part D. It’s important to note that if you fail to enroll in Medicare Part D at your initial enrollment, you might be subject to a late penalty should you choose to enroll at a later time.
Above are the 4 parts of Medicare! Once broken into its parts, it’s much simpler to understand how Medicare functions today! In addition to the parts listed above are supplemental plans. It’s worth looking into supplemental options if you feel you’ll need them over the course of your Medicare coverage! Most people spend their lives receiving insurance coverage through an employer, so it’s understandably intimidated when approached with Medicare coverage for the first time! Luckily, it’s possible to not only understand Medicare but to make the best enrollment choice for you!
- Lori Thomas has decades of experience as a caregiver. Her writing for SeniorAdvice.com is informed by years of research as well as hands-on family experience caring for her now late mother, who had chronic health issues for most of her life. Lori is an integral part of the SeniorAdvice.com management team, acting as Vice President of Marketing and Chief Editor.
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