Medicare is a federal health insurance program in the United States that provides coverage for eligible individuals aged 65 and older, as well as certain younger individuals with disabilities or specific medical conditions. Medicare is divided into four parts, each covering different aspects of healthcare services.
Here are the four parts of Medicare:
1. Medicare Part A (Hospital Insurance):
Medicare Part A primarily covers inpatient hospital services. This includes services such as hospital stays, skilled nursing facility care (limited to a specific period after a hospital stay), hospice care, and some home health care services. Most people do not have to pay a premium for Part A if they or their spouse have paid Medicare taxes while working.
2. Medicare Part B (Medical Insurance):
Medicare Part B provides coverage for outpatient medical services and preventive care. This includes doctor’s visits, lab tests, preventive screenings, medical equipment, ambulance services, and some home health care services not covered by Part A. Part B does require a monthly premium, and the cost may vary based on the individual’s income.
3. Medicare Part C (Medicare Advantage):
Medicare Advantage is a Medicare-approved plan from a private company that offers an alternative to Original Medicare for your health and drug coverage. It allows individuals to receive Part A and Part B coverage through private insurance companies approved by Medicare. These plans often include additional benefits like prescription drug coverage (Part D), dental, vision, and wellness programs. Medicare Advantage plans may have different costs and rules compared to Original Medicare (Part A and Part B).
4. Medicare Part D (Prescription Drug Coverage):
Medicare Part D provides prescription drug coverage to help individuals with the cost of their medications. Part D plans are offered by private insurance companies approved by Medicare. These plans have a formulary, which is a list of covered medications, and they may have different premiums, deductibles, and copayments based on the specific drugs covered. It’s essential for beneficiaries to choose a Part D plan that meets their needs at the lowest possible cost.