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Medicare Parts Explained | What Are Medicare Parts A-D?

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Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Medicare Parts Explained | What Are Medicare Parts A-D?

Now that you're nearing retirement, you're more than ready for the easy life. But you can't settle in just yet. You have to enroll in a Medicare plan.

If you only want the most minimal coverage, the process can be as simple as waiting for those Social Security benefits to roll in. However, to get the best possible coverage for your health needs, you have to pick a plan with multiple parts.

If you're turning 65, it's time you learned your Medicare ABCs. Here's a rundown of Medicare Parts A to D.

Medicare Part A: Hospital Insurance

Part A covers the services you get when you're treated at a hospital, and when you go through rehab at another hospital or a skilled nursing facility. Part A also pays for visits from doctors and healthcare specialists while you complete your recovery at home. If you're terminally ill, Part A pays for your hospice care instead.

If you've paid Social Security taxes for 10 years, you get Medicare Part A for free!

Medicare Part B: Medical insurance

Part B includes the services that are deemed "medically necessary" by the government to treat or prevent a serious medical condition. You'll be covered for blood tests, X-rays, medical equipment, yearly checkups, screenings for illness, flu shots, physical and occupational therapy, and mental health services.

Part B isn't free. When you turn 65, you have the option to sign up for it.

Parts A and B: Original Medicare

Original Medicare just refers to the Medicare coverage you get from the government. It includes Parts A and/or B. Like we said, the government gives you Part A for free; you have to pay for Part B benefits.

If you want Part B (and we think it's a good idea to have it), make sure you enroll when you turn 65. Otherwise, you might have to a pay a penalty for late enrollment.

Medicare Part C: Medicare Advantage

This health plan adds even more coverage to the medical and hospital insurance you get through Original Medicare. It offers the same benefits as Parts A and B, plus prescription drug coverage. Part C can even pay for extra health services like eyeglass prescriptions, hearing aids, and dental work. (Original Medicare can't cover those services.)

Unlike Parts A and B, Part C is not offered by the government. You can only buy it from private insurance companies that sell Medicare-approved plans. Also known as Medicare Advantage, Part C works just like the major medical plans you've had your whole life. You buy it in the form of an HMO or PPO, and you pay monthly premiums for coverage.

So, if you just want basic insurance through just Parts A and B, stick with the government's Original Medicare. If you want the same benefits as Original Medicare, plus help paying for your medications and extra health services, buy Medicare Advantage instead.

Medicare Part D: Prescription Drug Plans

If you go for Original Medicare (instead of Medicare Advantage), you can still get help paying for your prescription drugs. Medicare Part D covers the cost of your pricey medications. If you have Original Medicare, you don't have to buy Part D. You can just keep Parts A and B and go without a prescription drug plan. However, if you have any ongoing prescriptions, you know how costly it would be to pay for them completely out-of-pocket.

Don't take a huge hit to your savings. Buy Part D, and you'll get prescription drug insurance for your Original Medicare. Use Easy Medicare Quotes to look up plans in your area!

Part D sounds pretty similar to Part C, right?

They are comparable in two ways: they're both sold by private insurance companies, and they both offer prescription drug coverage. The difference between these Part D and C is that they are associated with two different programs.

Part D is part of Original Medicare; you can only buy it if you have Parts A and/or B. Part C is a standalone policy. It covers basically the same benefits as Parts A, B, and D; but it's a separate program from Original Medicare. You can't add Part D to Part C.

So, if you have Original Medicare, and you want help paying for your meds, buy a Part D plan.

Medicare Supplement Insurance: Medigap

Parts A and B cover your hospital and non-hospital medical expenses. However, they only compensate you up to a certain amount. Medicare supplement plans help pay for the out-of-pocket costs that Parts A and B don't cover. That's why supplemental insurance is called Medigap -- it fills in the coverage gaps of Original Medicare.

Medigap policies are only sold by private insurance companies. You can only buy a Medigap policy for Original Medicare (Parts A and B). You can't buy supplement insurance to cover your out-of-pocket costs for Medicare Parts C or D.

If you want your insurer to pay for more of your healthcare costs, buy a Medigap plan.

Pick A Plan Today!

There you have it -- the ins and outs of Medicare's many parts. We know it's confusing, but we're here to help. Start your health insurance search with Easy Medicare Quotes. We'll deliver you a free quote on Medicare plans in your area. Then we'll put you in touch with an expert agent who will answer your questions and help you decide which plan to buy.

Get the help you deserve today!