Anyone signed up for Medicare knows it is not as simple and straightforward as we would prefer. In part two of our three part series, check your own understanding of the program and share this information. Look for part 3 in December Business People.
Medicare Part A is hospital insurance. This assists with expenses related to inpatient hospital care and nursing home care following a hospital stay. Part A also provides coverages for other types of home health care and hospice services. Part A does not cover doctor expenses during hospital stays.
Medicare Part B is medical insurance. This coverage helps to pay for doctors’ expenses related to the diagnosis and treatment of medical conditions, outpatient care, and preventative health care. Medicare Part B does not cover dental, vision or hearing care costs. New enrollees in 2018 pay a base rate of $134/month that increases for individuals in higher tax brackets. Part B pays 80 percent of covered charges and the policy beneficiary is responsible for the remaining 20 percent.
Medicare Part D is prescription drug coverage. This insurance assists with the cost of prescription drugs and is available to anyone enrolled in Medicare Parts A and B.
Medigap Plans are also known as Medicare supplemental insurance. These policies come into play after Medicare and apply to the 20 percent not covered by Part B. Medigap plans are designed to provide freedom of choice in medical care by allowing enrollees to use any physician or healthcare provider who participates in Medicare.
Medicare Advantage Plans (MA), formerly known as Part C, are alternatives to original Medicare coverage that may provide a low-cost alternative to Medigap insurance and/or Part D plans. Medicare Advantage plans are private insurance plans and are required to provide the same minimum benefits as original Medicare plus supplemental coverage that may include prescription drug coverage and in some cases dental, vision and hearing. MA premiums are often less expensive than purchasing original Medicare, Part D and Medigap coverage separately.