Medicare offers healthcare benefits to people aged 65 and older (as well as those with chronic conditions) in the form of four main options that cover various medical expenses.
Since Medicare has so many different plans, it can get very confusing to know which plan will offer you the right kind of coverage. Even if you aren’t eligible yet, it always helps to know what gets covered under the different plans. Here’s your guide to understanding the different types of Medicare plans and the coverage they offer:
Medicare is divided into four parts: A, B, C, and D, each of these parts covers different aspects of healthcare. You are free to enroll in multiple Medicare plans, but the most widely used parts are A and B, popularly known as original Medicare. People under Medicare usually have to pay a monthly premium but that differs based on income.
Medicare Part A
Medicare Part A covers inpatient hospital costs when the doctor orders you to get formally admitted to a hospital. It also provides benefits for services like:
Wheelchairs and walkers
Certain home healthcare services
Part A also covers skilled nursing facilities only if you qualify for an inpatient hospital stay- three consecutive days after a formal inpatient admission order written by your doctor.
Medicare Part B
Medicare Part B usually covers other day-to-day medical costs like preventive healthcare and doctor’s services like yearly tests and checkups. People are recommended to opt-in for both parts A and B to enjoy a more rounded coverage. Part B’s coverage includes a wide range of services and tests, including:
Screening for depression, cancer, and diabetes
Ambulance services and emergency department services
Vaccinations for Influenza and Hepatitis
Medicare Part C
Medicare Part C or Medicare Advantage is a privately sold insurance option that offers the same coverage as Original Medicare (Parts A and B), as well as extra benefits like dental, vision, prescription drug plans, hearing, and others.
Medicare Part D
Medicare Part D offers coverage for prescription drugs that don’t come under Part B. These are injections and drugs that usually need to be administered by a doctor. Medicare Part D is completely optional, but most people opt-in for it to have all their bases covered.