Each fall, you receive a new “Medicare and You” handbook with updated information concerning Medicare. The handbook
The majority of new enrollees who sign up for Medicare don’t really understand what they are signing up for.
But is it really a good idea to become involved in a program with various options and packages before understanding exactly what’s covered by each of the plans? Let’s take a look at the fundamental basics of Medicare and what is included in each of the different coverage plans.
Part A: Uncovered
Part A is designed to provide coverage for what we know as ‘Hospital Insurance’ expenses. That can consist of inpatient stays in hospital facilities, skilled nursing care in a hospital environment, and care in the home provided by a skilled nurse. Essentially, Part A supports those who need hospital care, with the coverage expanding to include:
- Mental health care facilities
- Rehabilitation programs (inpatient)
- Critical care hospitals
- Qualifying clinical research trials
The patient must be in the inpatient facility for more than three days for their stay to be eligible for Part A benefits, with Medicare informing Part A members that its coverage stretches to include:
- Semi-private room
- Rehabilitation services
- Meals and Dietary counseling
- Medical social services
- Ambulance transportation if needed
- Home health care services
Part B: Uncovered
Part B is referred to as the ‘Medical Insurance’ coverage plan and forms the other half of the Original Medicare package alongside Part A. Part B typically covers outpatient health support and treatment, including:
- Preventative services such as vaccines and jabs, screenings and tests
- Outpatient care
- Doctor’s visits
- Ambulance services
- Durable medical equipment
Most notably, Part B is not compulsory and can be waived. However, you will incur a penalty if you decide to opt-in for Part B later down the line.
Part C: Uncovered
Part C is one of the lesser-known plans with Medicare, primarily because it is operated through private insurance and doesn’t form part of one of the traditional Medicare packages. Instead, it is controlled by private insurers themselves, and the costs and coverages will vary. If you opt for Part C, use it as an opportunity to fill some of the coverage gaps left behind by Original Medicare.
Part D: Uncovered
Part D is the prescription drug coverage plan and is offered as an elective plan for those enrolling in Medicare benefits. Created to make prescription drugs and needed medication more affordable, Medicare Part D is something everyone should consider. While there is no penalty for obtaining the coverage after your Initial Enrollment Period, the plan can go a long way in helping prevent catastrophic spending on medicine.