Medicare Part A:
Most people are eligible for Part A with no cost at age 65 due to personal work credits – or through a spouse’s work history. This benefit covers inpatient hospital care, skilled nursing care, hospice and some home health care.
Medicare Part B:
Conversely, Part B benefits do have a monthly cost and it can vary based on your income. Most people elect Part B at age 65, but some defer enrollment if they have qualifying group coverage. This benefit covers medically necessary doctors services, preventive care, durable medical equipment, ambulance services, mental health care, outpatient services and more.
Medicare Part C:
This is where it can get confusing. Part C is another term for Medicare Advantage plans like HMOs and PPOs. These are all in one privately offered insurance policies purchased from major insurance companies like Humana, Aetna, United Healthcare and so on. Most Part C plans roll Parts A, D and D all into one policy. Some have monthly premiums and some do not. When you enroll in a Part C plan, you are allowing a private insurance company to cover your Medicare Parts A, B and usually D. You typically need to use their networks of doctors and hospitals. You still pay your Part B premiums even if you select a Part C Advantage policy.
Medicare Part D:
Just remember D stands for drug and you’ll know that Medicare Part D policies are stand alone prescription drug plans. Medicare does not typically cover prescriptions from your local pharmacy. Most consumers elect to purchase a Part D plan for their current or future prescription needs. Some Part C (Medicare Advantage) plans include Part D, but if you don’t enroll in one of those, then you should consider a Stand Alone Drug plan, This pharmacy drug benefit is only offered from private insurance companies as well – not the government.
Medicare Supplement Plans:
Parts A and B have several gaps that leave you exposed to additional out of pocket costs. Most people purchase a Medicare supplement policy like Plan G, F or N to fill these gaps. These policies are also offered from private insurance companies. There are only certain times you can purchase a policy without the need for medical underwriting, so be sure to talk with an independent insurance agent if you’re not sure.
You do not need both an Advantage plan and a Supplement. It’s one or the other. You can either fill in the gaps associated with Parts A & B with a Medicare supplement policy and Stand Alone Part D drug plan – or you can purchase an all in one Advantage policy.