The 4 Parts of Medicare
With Medicare you may find that there are many different letters to keep up with. When it comes to the basics, there are four parts of Medicare that are broken down like so: Part A, Part B, Part C, and Part D. The first important differentiation you will need to note is that Part A and Part B are referred to as Original Medicare, and they are implemented through the federal government. Part C and Part D are sold through private insurance clo0ompanies – not through the federal government. All four parts have their own costs, including copayments, deductibles, and premiums.
The first stop on your Medicare adventure is Part A. This is going to be your hospital coverage. Part A is typically a zero-dollar premium if you or your spouse have paid Social Security taxes for 40 or more quarters (which is the equivalent of 10 years or more), or if you are eligible for Railroad Retirement Benefits. Part A covers inpatient care at a hospital (including meals and any diagnostic testing), skilled nursing facilities, and hospice care.
Next up is Part B. This is going to be your coverage at a doctor or other healthcare providers offices. The standard premium for Part B in 2022, is $170.12. This amount could be more or less depending on various factors. It also covers preventative tests and durable medical equipment. Part A and Part B together are referred to as Original Medicare.
Part C, or Medicare Advantage is not part of Original Medicare. It is another way to get Part A and Part B coverage. If you enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan, you then have opted to receive your Part A and Part B benefits through the private insurance company you choose vs. the government. To be eligible for Part C, you must be enrolled in Part A and Part B and live in the plan’s service area. Since Part A and Part B do not cover all your Medicare costs, most beneficiaries choose to purchase additional supplemental coverage to help cover their side of the costs, either with a Medicare Advantage plan or a Medicare Supplement. If you want to know more about each one, read our blog on Medicare Supplement vs. Medicare Advantage. Part C is optional, and not a requirement.
Part D is your Prescription Drug Coverage. These plans are also available through private insurance companies. This plan is beneficial for prescription medications you fill at a pharmacy. Part D is also optional, but keep in mind that if you do not have credible coverage and choose not to enroll in a Prescription Drug Plan, then you will be penalized when you choose to enroll later. Prescription Drug Plans change each year. It is very important to review these during the Annual Enrollment Period that takes place between October 15th and December 7th each year to ensure you have the most cost-effective plan that covers all your medications.
If you are new to Medicare, this can be overwhelming. You will want a Medicare insurance advisor in your corner to help guide you through each part of Medicare. If you know you are approaching retirement, call (877) 759-5762 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to setup an appointment with an MWG Direct advisor so you will be well equipped for the adventure ahead!