You can access Medicare if you are above the age of 65 and an American citizen. This federal health insurance program offers reduced cost or even free healthcare for seniors. In order to find a plan that gives you adequate coverage and suits your budget, you must be familiar with how Medicare is structured and what it entails. When you know what you’re paying for, the process of picking out a plan becomes simpler.
Medicare consists of four primary parts and each is assigned a letter. You can choose plans from a combination of Part A and B. Part C plans cover most of what Plan A and B cover plus a little extra, however, it might be more expensive. Part D can be purchased as an add-on to Part A and B. Most plans have a monthly premium and deductibles. Here’s how these four components work.
Medicare Part A
Medicare Part A covers any hospital expenses you undergo. This includes staying in the hospital, the costs of skilled nursing facilities, hospice and even home health care. You can also get coverage for lab tests and surgeries. Some seniors are eligible to avail of Part A without premiums. If you don’t qualify for premium-free coverage, your monthly premiums come to 485$ a month.
Medicare Part B
Medicare Part B offers coverage for medical supplies, services, and equipment. This includes doctor visits, outpatient services, ambulance services, mental health services and medical equipment like wheelchairs. Part B also covers preventive care. Most people opt for a combination of Part A and Part B. The premium amount is based on your income.
Medicare Part C
This is also known as Medicare Advantage which people choose as an alternative to Parts A and B. Medicare Advantage Plans are offered by private insurers but are regulated by the government. These plans are designed to address gaps in traditional or original Medicare. With a Medicare Advantage plan you can access dental and vision care, coverage for prescription drugs and benefits like membership to fitness clubs along with the coverage offered by Parts A and B.
Medicare Part D
Medicare Part D offers coverage for prescription drugs and can be purchased from a private insurer as an add-on to Parts A and B. These private insurers contract with Medicare and provide a variety of plans with premiums that range from $13 to $83.