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What are the different parts of Medicare and when should someone enroll?
Medicare is divided into “parts” that cover different kinds of medical costs as follows:
Medicare Part A
helps cover most inpatient hospital, skilled nursing home, home health and hospice care. There is a monthly premium for Part A, but many people will qualify for premium-free Part A*.
Medicare Part B
covers routine doctor visits, including specialists, to treat your medical conditions. It also covers preventative services, which is healthcare meant to prevent illness (like the flu) or to detect at an early stage, when treatment is most likely to work best.
Original Medicare (Parts A and B) will not cover 100% of your medical expenses. A recent study indicated a lot of people are riding out their first year with Original Medicare to see how it goes, which can be an expensive lesson**. When you enroll in a Medicare Advantage, Medicare Supplement or Prescription Drug Plan, you’re safeguarded from more out-of-pocket costs.
The window to enroll in Medicare coverage is the seven-month period surrounding your 65th birthday. Called the Initial Enrollment Period for Medicare, this is the time allotted for enrollment in Medicare Parts A, B, C and D.
*If you have worked and paid Social Security taxes for at least 40 calendar quarters (10 years)
**Source: Henry J Kaiser Family Foundation
Medicare Part C: Medicare Advantage Plans
Medicare Advantage plans, also called Medicare Part C, provide an alternative to Original Medicare (Parts A and B). They are offered by private health insurance companies that are approved by Medicare. With a Medicare Advantage plan
+ $0 premium plans and $0 deductible plans may be available in your area.
+ Prescription drug coverage may be included.
+ Additional benefits, such as vision, hearing and dental may be available.
Medicare Supplement Insurance
Medicare Supplement Insurance plans, also called Medigap, help provide for gaps in coverage from Medicare Parts A and B and can potentially save you money. It helps pay some health care costs Medicare Parts A and B don’t pay for, such as copayments, coinsurance and deductibles. The monthly premium cost can vary depending on the type of coverage but the premium cost is offset by lower annual out-of-pocket costs for healthcare services. In most states, there are 8 plans to choose from and all policies have been standardized by the government. With Medicare Supplement, you are guaranteed acceptance when your first enroll.
Medicare Part D: Prescription Drug Plans
- as a standalone plan to supplement Medicare Parts A and B;
- to accompany a Medicare Supplement Plan.
Medicare Helpline Can Help You Find the Right Medicare Plan
The Medicare Helpline is here to help! Our licensed sales agents are here for you and they know Medicare inside and out. We will provide side-by-side comparisons to help make it easy for you to decide which plan is right for you. Get started by entering your zip code below:
1-833-522-0922 | TTY: 711
Hours: M-F 7am-6pm CT; Sat 9am-2pm CT