As an enrollee in the Medicare system, it is important to consider your choices and options for health care. Although there are many people who fall under the coverage of Medicare, individual coverage can differ greatly due to the numerous options for coverage and benefits. It’s important to compare your medicare plan options to ensure you get the coverage that fits your needs and budget.
One option you have when you enroll in Medicare is Medicare Part A coverage. Medicare Part A is sometimes referred to as “Hospital Insurance.” Generally, Medicare Part A covers inpatient hospital care, hospice, home health services, skilled nursing facility care and nursing home care (except custodial care). Some people automatically get Medicare Part A and those who don’t sometimes choose this option when they are still working and receiving health care benefits from their employer. You most likely will not have to pay a monthly premium for Medicare Part A if you or your spouse paid Medicare taxes while working. However, many people receive premium-free Part A. In many cases, if you choose Part A, you must also have Medicare Part B and pay monthly premiums for both.
Medicare Part B is sometimes called “Medical Insurance” and covers medically necessary and preventive services. Things considered medically necessary to treat a disease or condition, like doctor visits, lab tests, and surgeries, fall under Medicare Part B coverage. It also covers supplies, such as walkers and wheelchairs. Some services might be covered only in certain situations. Medicare Part B does have a premium each month that you will have to pay. In some instances, your Medicare Part B premium may be deducted from your Social Security benefit payment. The standard Part B premium amount varies depending on your income level.
Medicare Part C plans are sometimes called “Medicare Advantage Plans.” If you select a Medicare Advantage Plan, you will get your Medicare Part A and Medicare Part B coverage from the Medicare Advantage Plan. All Medicare services are covered by Medicare Part C, and may even offer extra coverage. Each plan could have different rules and different out-of-pocket costs. Usually you can also get prescription drug coverage through this plan.
Medicare Part D is prescription drug coverage. Medicare offers prescription drug coverage to everyone with Medicare. If you choose to not sign up when you’re first eligible you may have to pay a late penalty. In order to receive this coverage you must join a plan run by an insurance company or a private company approved by Medicare. Each plan varies in the cost and options of prescription drugs covered. Prescription drug coverage is available through Part D or through Medicare Advantage Part C.
Medicare supplement plans are sometimes called “Medigap Policies.” These plans can help pay for health care costs like co-payments, coinsurance and deductibles, which Medicare Parts A and B don’t cover. If the cost of your medical treatment is exceptionally high, a Medicare supplement plan could be very beneficial to you. Medicare supplement plans don’t cover everything though, so it’s important to research what will be covered to help you make a more informed decision.
Medigap is Medicare supplement insurance, which can help pay for health care costs that Medicare Parts A and B don’t cover. You will usually have to have Medicare Part A and Part B to buy a Medigap policy. Medigap policies cannot be obtained with Medicare Advantage. Medigap insurance is provided by private health insurance companies such as Blue Cross and Blue Shield, HealthNet, and Humana. A Medicare supplement policy must follow Federal and state laws.
Medicare applicants who are eligible for a Medigap policy must also enroll in Medicare Part A and Part B to receive the benefits of a Medicare supplement health insurance plan. Medigap policies contain an additional monthly premium on top of Medicare Part B.