Medicare is a federal health insurance program that includes four different parts. Each Medicare part covers a different type of care. Original Medicare (Parts A and B) covers about 80% of the average person’s costs for covered medical expenses.
Part A: Hospital Services
Helps pay the cost of care when you’re in a hospital or in a skilled nursing home following a hospital stay. It also helps cover hospice care and part-time home health care. You must be at least age 65, a U.S. citizen or permanent resident and you or your spouse must have paid into Social Security for at least 10 years. Part A is free for most, but you’ll have deductibles and coinsurance costs to cover.
Part B: Medical Services
Helps pay the cost of services from doctors and other skilled health care providers. It covers medically necessary services and supplies to diagnose or treat your condition. It also helps pay for durable medical equipment and some preventive services. Eligibility is the same as Part A above. Medicare charges a monthly premium for Part B, and you’ll have deductibles and coinsurance costs to cover.
Part C: Medicare Advantage plans
Combines all of the benefits and services of Parts A and B and usually Part D (prescription drugs) all in one plan. Medicare Advantage plans often include extra benefits for vision, hearing, dental and fitness programs. To enroll, you must have Original Medicare (Parts A and B) and live within the plan’s service area.
Part D: Stand-Alone Prescription Drug Plans
Helps cover some of your prescription drug costs. These plans are offered by private insurance companies who are contracted with Medicare. To enroll, you must have enrolled in Original Medicare and live within the plan’s service area.
Part F: Medicare Supplement Plans
Some people on Medicare choose a Medicare Supplement plan. These plans allow you to see any doctor, but they usually cost more and don’t include prescription drugs.