Medicare is a public health care coverage option available to people over age 65 and certain individuals who have been diagnosed with qualifying disabilities. Medicare benefits are divided into several different parts, each accounting for different health care benefits. Eligible Americans can apply for just one, or several Parts of Medicare, depending on their health care needs. These are the different parts of Medicare.
Original Medicare is a component of Medicare that features two combined parts; Part A and Part B. Part A is referred to as hospital insurance, while Part B is the medical insurance. This is what each part offers beneficiaries:
Medicare Part A
Once you are enrolled in Part A benefits, you are entitled to receive assistance paying for hospital-related health care costs. These costs may include the following:
- Inpatient care in a hospital
- Care administered in a skilled nursing facility
- Care administered in a nursing home
- Hospice care
- Home health care
- The covered home health services may include short-term skilled nursing care or other forms of treatment, such as physical, occupational, or speech therapy.
If you have Part A coverage, your benefits will also cover inpatient mental health care. Though, Part A benefits will only pay for 190 days of inpatient psychiatric treatment over the course of your lifetime.
Medicare Part A can be acquired premium-free if you have worked and paid Medicare taxes for at least 40 quarters. Although you may not have to pay a premium, you will likely be required to pay a deductible to uphold your coverage. Even with Part A benefits, covered health care services will come with some out-of-pocket costs as well, such as coinsurance. These costs can be mitigated using Medicare Supplement Insurance if desired.
Medicare Part B
Upon enrolling in Part B, you are entitled to receive assistance paying costs associated with medical services and supplies that are necessary to treat your health condition. The covered costs include the following:
- Participation in clinical research studies
- Ambulance services and medical transportation
- Durable medical equipment
- Preventive health care services
- Rehabilitative services
Part B benefits, like Part A benefits, provide some assistance paying for some mental health care services. Ask your preferred mental health care provider if they accept Medicare for their services.
Part B benefits are not available premium-free and must be purchased. There are also coinsurance costs associated with all services paid for by Medicare. These costs can be mitigated using Medicare Supplement Insurance if desired.
Medicare Part C
Medicare Part C is a unique component of the Medicare component, as it is the section of Medicare that features Medicare policies administered by private insurance companies. Part C policies are referred to as Medicare Advantage plans, and they offer the same benefits as Original Medicare, but may have additional benefits as well. Insurance companies that provide Advantage plans have contracted with Medicare to provide your Original Medicare benefits, but are also allowed to offer additional benefits, such as dental, vision, and hearing coverage. Part C policies also include prescription drug coverage frequently.
Medicare Part D
Original Medicare doesn’t include prescription drug coverage outright. If you want affordable prescription drugs, you will need either an outside policy or Part D prescription drug coverage through Medicare. Part D policies offer Medicare beneficiaries access to a set list of prescription medications that include at least two brands from every category of medicine. This ensures that regardless of which Part D provider you choose, you will typically have access to medications that work for your condition.