When it comes to Medicare, things can be tricky. Knowing what plan or plans to choose can be very confusing. A lot of people do not understand Medicare and what it is exactly. According to the official Medicare website, Medicare is the federal health insurance program for people who are 65 years or older, certain younger people who have disabilities, or people with End-Stage Renal Disease. There are four different parts to Medicare that everyone should know about:
1. Medicare Part A:
The first part of a Medicare Plan is Medicare Part A. Part A covers inpatient hospital stays, skilled nursing facilities, hospice, and home health care. Most people do not have to pay a premium for Part A because of the Medicare tax deductions on your paycheck. However, you are charged a heavy deductible each time you go into the hospital (Medicare does pay for the first 60 days though.)
2. Medicare Part B
The second aspect of a Medicare plan is Medicare Part B. Part B covers doctor visits, labs, ambulances, and other outpatient services. It also covers many preventative services such as a pap-smear and cancer screenings. These are more costly than Part A with a premium of $135.50 a month and a deductible of $185 for the year. You’ll pay 20 percent of all doctors visits and if you are collecting Social Security, your premium will be deducted from your benefit.
3. Medicare Part D
Medicare Part D is the part of Medicare that covers prescription drugs. These plans are usually purchased through a private insurer. Each individual plan has a formulary, which lists all the drugs that are covered. Many plans also have tiers which organizes drugs from the ones with the highest copay to the ones with the lowest copay.
4. Medicare Part C or Medicare Advantage Plans
The fourth part of Medicare is Medicare Part C, commonly known as a Medicare Advantage Plan. These are plans offered by private companies that are approved by Medicare. They are either HMOS or PPOS. These plans will provide coverage for Parts A and B, but will also include extras, such as Vision, Hearing, and Dental. Most Advantage Plans also include Part D as well.
5. Medicare alternatives
If an original Medicare plan does not fit your lifestyle, there are a couple of other Medicare alternatives you might want to consider. One alternative is a Medigap Plan. A Medigap Plan is also purchased through a private insurer and covers healthcare costs that Original Medicare doesn’t cover, such as coinsurance, copayments ,and deductibles. These are added as supplements to Part A and B plans. Compared to Medicare Advantage, Medigap has a higher premium, but lower out of pocket expenses. If this doesn’t satisfy your health needs, you can always just stick you using a private insurer or get a plan through your employer.