The Medicare plan you have now may not be the one you have forever. Medicare offers a wide variety of options and is always evolving
When it comes to healthcare, it is vital to know what is covered and what isn’t in your plan. Due to many different plans for Medicare, it can be challenging to know which plan will give you the right coverage. Luckily, we can make it easier for you to purchase the right plan.
Medicare Part A
Medicare Part A is part of Original Medicare and generally covers inpatient care like hospital or inpatient-like settings, including care received from a skilled nursing facility, hospice, and some home-based health care. Most people are automatically eligible for this plan at age 65 and above if they are already collecting retirement benefits from Railroad Retirement Board or Social Security Administration.
You can still qualify for Medicare Part A before you reach the age of 65, but the applicant must have a disability, End-Stage Renal Disease (ESRD), or Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS). The applicant must also be a U.S. citizen or a permanent resident of at least five continuous years. Overall, Medicare Part A coverage includes skilled nursing facility care, hospital care, and limited home health services.
Note that some of the benefits above are only covered in limited situations, and certain conditions must be met.
Medicare Part B
Medicare Part B is also part of Original Medicare, which covers medical supplies and services that are medically required to treat you. Medicare Part B can include outpatient care, ambulance services, preventative services, and quality medical equipment. This Medicare plan also covers intermittent or part-time rehabilitative and home health services like physical therapy if required to treat your health condition.
Some of the preventive services covered by Medicare Part B include preventive visits, diabetes screenings, cancer screenings, hepatitis B shots, cardiovascular screenings, and more. Any individual who is eligible for premium-free Medicare Part A is also eligible for this type of Medicare plan.
Medicare Part C
Medicare Part C (also known as Medicare Advantage) is a comprehensive Medicare plan that incorporates medical, hospital, and prescription drug coverage. Medicare Part C also covers extra services not offered by traditional Medicare plans such as vision, dental, and hearing care. However, Medicare Part C coverage varies between plans. You can only buy a Medicare Part C plan through private insurers rather than purchasing through the government itself.
People who already have Medicare Parts A and B also qualify for Medicare Part C. Those that stay in the service area of the Medicare Part C plan provider of interest can also enroll for the plan. That said, it is vital to note that even if you meet all these requirements, patients with renal diseases don’t usually qualify for Medicare Part C.
Medicare Part D
This is a Medicare plan that offers drug coverage for outpatients. Unlike Original Medicare offered by the United States federal government, Medicare Part D is only offered through private insurance firms with active contracts with the government. If you want to get this coverage, you need to select and enroll in a Medicare Advantage Plan with Drug (MAPD) coverage or a private Medicare Prescription Drug Plan (PDP).
Though enrollment is recommended to avoid incurring future penalties, it is optional and only required during approved enrollment periods. Signing up for Medicare Part D plans usually depends on the situation. For example, if you have creditable drug coverage from your retiree insurance or employer, you don’t have to enroll in Medicare Part D until you lose this coverage.