Turning 65? It's Time To Get Familiar With Medicare
Medicare allows millions of senior and disabled Americans to keep their healthcare costs to a minimum and to live healthy, full lives without worrying about the cost. It is a great program with many great qualities, but transparency is not one of them. At first glance, Medicare can seem intimidating and complex, and the task of choosing a plan daunting. However, you just need to understand a few basics.
The Basic Components Of Medicare
Medicare is essentially divided into four parts: A, B, C, and D. However, there are also additional forms of Medicare that don’t belong in either of these categories, and the parts don’t always combine in the same way. Which is why it’s not necessarily useful to think about Medicare in those terms alone. Instead, these are the main components of Medicare:
● Original Medicare - This is usually made up of Parts A (Hospital Insurance) and B (Medical Insurance), but can also be just one or the other. It is the most basic level of Medicare available. This simple infographic explains what is (and isn’t) covered by Original Medicare.
● Prescription Drug Benefit - This is Part D, which covers prescription drugs. It is the most common add-on to Original Medicare. Over half of people who have Part D have it as a stand-alone add-on plan, while the rest have Part D as part of a larger Medicare Advantage Plan.
● Medicare Advantage - This is Part C, but it is rarely referred to as such. Medicare Advantage plans allow you to expand your coverage to suit your needs. They are run by private insurance companies but are approved by Medicare, and involve a monthly premium additional to the one you pay for Original Medicare. There are four types of Medicare Advantage plans: HMOs (where you have to use a member of a network), PPOs (where you can use whatever service you like), PFFS (where you can see any doctor eligible for Medicare), and MSA (which includes a health savings account as well as insurance).
● Medigap - Medigap is similar to Medicare Advantage, but it is not the same thing. A Medigap insurance plan (also known as Medicare Supplement Insurance) helps cover the gaps in your Medicare plan, while Medicare Advantage is a separate plan in itself. Essentially, Medigap is a second form of insurance that pays the portions of your health bill not covered by Medicare.