The Importance of Understanding Medicare’s Basic Terms

Medicare is a government-funded healthcare program that provides health insurance coverage for individuals who are 65 or older, or those with certain disabilities. It can be a confusing system to navigate, especially for those who are new to it. In this article, I’ll provide you with a simple guide to the basic terminology of Medicare.

What Are Medicare Parts A and B? 

The very foundation of Medicare is Parts A and B. Part A covers hospital stays, hospice care, and limited home health care services. Part B covers doctor visits, outpatient care, and other medical services. Part A is almost automatic for anyone who is 65 or older, while Part B is voluntary and comes with a premium charge from the government.

What Are Medicare Supplement Plans A through N?

In addition to Parts A and B, individuals may also choose to purchase a Medicare supplement plan. These plans are known as Plans A through N and cover certain out-of-pocket expenses, such as deductibles, co-payments, and coinsurance. Plan G is the typical supplement plan, but there are other options available. When you have a conversation about Medicare with your insurance agent, they can explain all these plans in detail. 

What Is Medicare Part C, Medicare Advantage?

Part C, also known as Medicare Advantage or Medicare HMO plans, is an alternative to Parts A and B. It combines hospital and medical coverage into a single plan and often includes additional benefits, such as prescription drug coverage, vision, dental, and hearing. When a person joins Part C, they are disenrolled from Parts A, B, and D, and enrolled in the Part C plan. It is important to note that a person cannot have a Medicare supplement (Plans A through N, as above) and be enrolled in Part C.

What Is Medicare Part D, Prescription Drug Coverage?

Part D is the prescription drug plan for Medicare beneficiaries. It provides coverage for prescription drugs which can be an important benefit for those who take regular medications.

When to Begin Medicare Enrollment?

About six months before you reach the age of 65 or when you have a disability and are considering Medicare, it is important to educate yourself on the basics of the system. Contacting a licensed insurance agent like one of the MBhealth staff is a great way to gain a better understanding of your options.

Understanding the basics of Medicare can be overwhelming, but gaining this understanding is an important step in securing the healthcare coverage you need. By familiarizing yourself with the alphabet of Medicare–A, B, C, and D–and the supplement plans available, you can make the right informed decisions about your healthcare coverage. Call MBhealth when you need help finding your best options for Medicare: (314) 544-5400.

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