There are 4 main parts of Medicare: Parts A, B, C, and D.
|Medicare Part||What does it cover?||How much is the premium||Who provides coverage?|
|Part A||Basic hospital services||$0 (for most people)||Federal government|
|Part B||Basic non-emergency medical services||Most people pay $134 each month in 2018||Federal government|
(Medicare Advantage plans)
|Same as Parts A & B, plus may include additional benefits like dental and prescription drug coverage||Depends on plan||Private insurers|
(Prescription Drug Plans)
|Prescription drugs||Depends on plan||Private insurers|
Medicare Part A is the first part of Original Medicare. You must have Part A to enroll in Medicare Parts B, C, or D.
Part A is considered hospital insurance and covers services such as inpatient hospital care, hospice care, home health care, and blood transfusions.
Most people do not pay the Part A premium. It is free if you or your spouse paid Medicare taxes while working, or if you are eligible to receive retirement benefits from Social Security or the Railroad Retirement Board. If you do have to pay for it, Part A may cost up to $437 per month in 2019.
Medicare Part A hospital insurance does come with out-of-pocket costs, according to Medicare.gov. When you use Part A services, you have to pay a deductible before coverage begins. The annual Part A deductible is $1,364 in 2019. You also will have co-insurance costs for certain Part A covered care such as inpatient hospital stays.
In 2018, more than 59 million people were enrolled in either Medicare Part A and/or B, according to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS).
More information: Medicare Part A
Medicare Part B is the second half of Original Medicare. It is optional coverage. When you enroll in Part A, you can reject or accept Part B coverage.
Part B is considered medical insurance and covers health care services such as doctor visits, preventative services, durable medical equipment, and yearly wellness exams.
Medicare Part B comes with several costs, including premiums, deductibles, co-insurance, and co-payments. The standard 2019 monthly premium for Part B is $135.50 for most people, according to Medicare.gov. Your premium may be higher if your income is above a certain level.
When you use Part B services, you have to pay a deductible before coverage begins. The yearly deductible is $185 in 2019. You also may have to pay a 20% co-insurance for the cost of any approved care you receive such as doctors visits.
More information:Medicare Part B
Medicare Part C, also called Medicare Advantage, is a form of private health insurance that provides the same coverage as Original Medicare and may include additional benefits such as coverage for prescription drugs, dental, vision, and wellness programs.
You must be enrolled in Original Medicare before you can enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan. You cannot have a Medicare Advantage plan and a Medicare Supplement insurance policy at the same time.
There are 5 major types of Medicare Advantage plans. The type of plan you choose may affect your prescription drug coverage options, referral requirements, and network restrictions.
You must enroll in a Part C plan during certain enrollment periods, such as when you are first eligible for Medicare, or during the yearly Open Enrollment Period.
In 2018, more than 20 million people were enrolled in Medicare Advantage plans, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF).
More information: Medicare Part C
Medicare Part D plans provide prescription drug coverage. It is optional coverage that works with many other forms of insurance, including Original Medicare, Medicaid, and employer health plans.
Part D prescription drug plans are offered by private insurers, not the federal government. Each plan has its own formulary (list of covered drugs) that impacts which prescription drugs are covered and how much you will pay for them.
You must enroll in a Part D plan during certain enrollment periods, such as when you are first eligible for Medicare, or during the yearly Open Enrollment Period.
In 2017, more than 42 million people had prescription drug coverage through a stand-alone Part D plan, according to KFF.
More information: Medicare Part D
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Last Updated: 2/7/2018