I often get asked by people “what is the difference between Medicare Parts A, B, C and D?” Let me take this opportunity to try and explain that.
Medicare Part A
Part A of Medicare covers hospital services and is provided by the federal government. For most people Part A is at no cost, but there is a deductible under Part A each time you utilize a hospital provider.
Medicare Part B
Part B of Medicare covers your physician services. There’s an annual deductible under Part B, and there is coinsurance under Part B at 80%. So you’d be responsible for 20% of physicians services under Part B of Medicare. There is a cost to Part B of Medicare, and the cost is going to be determined by your income. Parts A and Part B of Medicare are commonly referred to as Original Medicare. And both A and B are provided by the federal government.
Medicare Part C
Medicare Part C is the opportunity for you to buy a Medicare Advantage plan. By law, Medicare Advantage plans must cover at least as well as original A and B of Medicare. But Medicare Part C, or a Medicare Advantage plan, acts as a replacement to A and B of Medicare. You’ll still be responsible for paying your Part B premium, but a Medicare Advantage plan would take the place of original A and B Medicare.
Medicare Advantage plans are under the direction of Medicare and again, they must provide services at least equal to what Medicare provides. But the benefit of a Medicare Advantage plan is that it can provide additional benefits that Medicare does not cover such as prescription drugs, preventive care, dental services, and eyewear. So a Medicare Advantage plan is a really good option for a lot of people, and it typically comes at a very low cost.
Medicare Part D
Part D of Medicare covers prescription drug benefits. Part D of Medicare can be purchased as a standalone when you have just original A and B of Medicare, or if you have original A and B of Medicare and a supplement. Outside the hospital Medicare A and B does not cover prescription drugs so most people are going to need a Part D plan.
If you do buy a Medicare C plan, (Medicare Advantage plan), most of the time prescription drug benefits or a D plan is included with the C plan. So for some people, they’re going to buy a Medicare C plan that includes the D benefit. And again Medicare Advantage plans are really great option for the low-cost services that they provide.
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