The 4 Parts of Medicare
Medicare Part A
Also known as hospital insurance, Part A is provided by the U.S. government to cover any medical care that requires an overnight hospital stay, hospice care or some at home care. Part A also covers annual checkups and many preventative services without a copayment. Most people are automatically enrolled in Part A and there are no monthly premiums.
Medicare Part B
Part B covers some preventative services to help when you are sick. With Health Care Reform, Part B now covers services such as annual wellness exams, doctor visits and outpatient care. Other covered services include: outpatient care, durable medical equipment, lab tests, x-rays, and blood work, wheelchairs and walkers, ambulance services, mammograms, prostate cancer screenings, heart disease and diabetes screenings, outpatient physical therapy, mental health care.
Medicare Part C – (aka Medicare Advantage)
Medicare Advantage covers costs that original Medicare does not. Part C combines Parts A and B and gives you additional benefits for vision, dental, hearing and prescription drugs. These plans are only offered through private insurance companies, and come in two varieties:
- HMO – HMOs usually have lower monthly premiums, but they only cover in-network benefits
- PPO – PPOs may have higher premiums, but they have a wider network and provide coverage for in and out-of-network benefits.
Both HMOs and PPOs provide coverage for urgent and emergency care.
Medicare Part D
Part D is prescription drug coverage provided by private insurance companies. If you take prescription drugs, it is very important to know whether your medications are covered by the plan you choose. Medicare Advantage plans may include Part D coverage, you can choose a standalone plan to use with Original A and B or a Medicare supplement plan.