Medicare is made up of different parts, so learning about each part will help you decide what parts you want or need.  It might help you to think of it like a buffet, where you get to choose just what part or parts fit your needs.

The first thing you’ll want to determine is if you’ll choose Original Medicare or Medicare Advantage.  With Original Medicare, you’ll be able to choose from Part A, B, and D. Medicare Advantage is known as Part C and essentially combines Part A, B, and D through a private insurer. 

The following are the four parts of Medicare:

Part A – This part of Medicare has to do with hospital coverage in case you have to spend time in the hospital. It also covers various nursing home or home health care in case you need some rehabilitation after an illness, as well as hospice care. Typically, Medicare Part A is free for those that paid into Medicare taxes for ten years or more. If this is the case, you won’t have to pay a monthly premium, but you’ll still have to pay a deductible.

If you didn’t pay into Medicare for ten years, you are still able to receive Part A, but you’ll have to pay a monthly premium. As of 2019, the premium is $437 per month.

Part B – This part of Medicare has to do with any medical care coverage or outpatient services you need. This Part covers things like primary care physicians, medical equipment, screenings, ambulance, or other medical services. There is a monthly premium for Medicare Part B, as well as a deductible and coinsurance. As of 2019, the monthly premium for those whose income in under $85K is $135.50.

Part C – Part C is also known as Medicare Advantage.  This Part involves private insurance companies that combine Part A and Part B, and sometimes Part D, the prescription part. In addition to the hospital and medical insurance, and prescription drugs, you may also be eligible for benefits like hearing, vision, dental, and health programs.  In addition to your Part B monthly premium, Part C also requires a small monthly premium. 

Part D – This part of Medicare involves prescription drug coverage. Typically, you’ll have to pay a premium and perhaps some other out-of-pocket fees, and perhaps a yearly deductible.

Getting familiar with the various parts of Medicare can feel daunting if you’re just beginning to learn. Rest assured that it does get easier to understand as you go along. Take some time to read through various articles on Medicare Parts and don’t be afraid to call and talk to a Medicare specialist. You don’t have to navigate Medicare all on your own.For more information, check out www.medicare.gov.

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