What Are the Different Parts of Medicare?
Medicare has four parts, or programs that provide coverage for different health-related services.
Medicare Part A
Medicare Part A, also known as the Hospital Insurance program, helps cover the costs of:
- Inpatient care in hospitals
- Inpatient care in a skilled nursing facility
- Hospice care services
- Some home health care services
If you are eligible for Medicare you will not have to pay a monthly premium for Part A if you or your spouse paid Medicare payroll taxes while working. If you and your spouse did not work or did not pay enough Medicare payroll taxes you may not be eligible for premium-free Part A. However, you may be able to purchase Part A by paying a monthly premium.
Medicare Part B
Medicare Part B, also known as the Medical Insurance program, helps pay for:
- Doctors’ services
- Outpatient care
- Some of the services not covered under Part A, such as some home health services, physical therapy, and occupational therapy
- Some preventive services
You will need to pay a monthly premium for Part B that can be deducted from your monthly social security check. Most people pay a standard monthly premium
for Part B, which is $96.40.
Medicare Part C – The Medicare Advantage Program
Medicare Part C, also known as the Medicare Advantage program, allows you to choose a health plan offered by a private insurance company that is approved by Medicare. Medicare Advantage plans include:
- Managed Care Organizations (such as a PPO or HMO)
- Private Fee-for-Service (PFFS) Plans
Medicare Advantage plans receive payments from Medicare to provide you with the benefits covered by Medicare, including Part A (hospital) and Part B (physician and outpatient services). Most Medicare Advantage plans include Part D coverage (prescription drug benefits) and many offer extra coverage, such as vision and hearing care, dental services, and health and wellness programs.
Medicare Part D
Medicare Part D, an outpatient prescription drug benefit, is offered to everyone with Medicare. To get Part D drug coverage, you have to join a plan run by a private insurance company that has been approved by Medicare or enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan that includes drug coverage.
Part D prescription plans are offered on a state-by-state basis and most states have 40 or more plans available. Although all these plans must offer at least a “standard” drug benefit determined by Medicare, they may provide additional benefits.