Medicare is separated into 4 parts. Most folks who are new to Medicare find it confusing. Why are there so many different parts? What’s the real difference between the parts and plans?
Cornerstone Senior Advisors is here to simplify things. We start by explaining the 4 parts of Medicare.
Medicare Part A
Part A covers your room and board while you’re in the hospital. In other words, it’s your hospital insurance. Part A also covers blood transfers that require more than 3 pints of blood.
Medicare Part A is free for most people — as long as you’ve worked in the U.S. for at least 10 years. To be specific, Part A gives you a semi-private room for your stay in the hospital, plus meals and medical services while you’re there.
Sometimes people wonder if they might only need Medicare Part A. However, many things occur in a hospital that fall under Medicare Part B. It’s important to enroll in Part A and Part B unless you have other coverage correlating with Medicare.
Medicare Part B
Part B is for outpatient services that are considered medically necessary. This part of Medicare includes coverage for lab testing, doctor office visits, surgeries, ambulance, rides, preventative care, and other services. Many of these procedures may take place in a hospital. But they fall under Part B because doctors and physicians provide them. It can be difficult to decipher what’s inpatient vs outpatient care.
Sometimes people wonder if Part B is really necessary. If Medicare will be your main (or only) coverage, then the answer is yes.
These two different parts of Medicare, Parts A and B jointly, make up “Original Medicare”. They’re the only two parts that you’ll register for at the Social Security office.
Medicare Part C
Part C of Medicare is a little confusing. While other parts cover specific medical benefits, Part C is just another term for private Medicare insurance. It’s currently referred to as Medicare Advantage.
Medicare Advantage plans are private plans that you can select instead of Medicare. So, you’d receive your Part A, Part B, and occasionally Part D all from the same insurance carrier. These plans typically have a network of providers from whom you’ll request your care.
Medicare Part C plans can have lower premiums than Medigap plans. But you’ll pay more copays as you continue, so they may not always be cheaper in the long run.
Medicare Part D
Part D is a program created to help you reduce the cost of your retail prescription drugs. Instead of enrolling through the Social Security office, you’ll choose one of the Part D plans that’s available in your county from private insurers.
By registering for that plan, you’ll have enrolled in Medicare Part D. Medicare drug plans are up to the individual. You’ll pay a monthly premium to the insurance company. In return, they offer you much lower copays on your medications that you’d pay if you had no insurance.
Visit our Medicare Part D page for more details about how your prescription drug coverage will work, including when you can enroll and dis-enroll from the drug plans.
These are the 4 parts of Medicare. The other letters (F, G, etc.) are Medigap plans.
What Parts of Medicare Do I Need?
If Medicare is your sole coverage, you certainly need both parts of Original Medicare – Parts A and B. Without them both, you won’t be eligible to enroll in a Medicare supplement plan or a Medicare Advantage plan.
Most people need Part D, too. You can add Part D as standalone coverage next to your Original Medicare and Medicare supplement, or you can research Medicare Advantage plans that have a Part D drug plan included.
Part D is optional because some folks with other drug coverage might not need it.
Need Help With Your Medicare Parts?
The agents at Cornerstone Senior Advisors can guide you through these 4 parts of Medicare so you can understand them fully. Our team is friendly and experienced at explaining how Medicare works. Call (316) 260-3331 or email office@AdviseMedicare.net for a free consultation.