When you reach the age of 65, most Americans qualify for Medicare. Although it may seem confusing, there are only two plans to choose from and two optional supplements. The following is a broad look at what is available.
Medicare Parts A and B
This is what most people refer to when they say Medicare, and it's what the majority of elderly people have. Part A covers inpatient expenses, such as hospital stays. Part B covers outpatient procedures and doctor visits. There are two problems with traditional Medicare. The first is that it only pays about 80 percent of your bills. The second is it doesn't cover medication. There are, however, supplemental policies to cover most of the shortcomings of Medicare Parts A and B.
Medigap supplemental insurance
These policies are designed to address the costs not covered by traditional Medicare. They are sold by private companies but are regulated by federal law. Each particular type of policy is given a letter, and the coverage for each policy is the same from one company to the next. If you are looking for a policy designated as F, then this will be the same coverage, regardless of which company you quote. There will be differences in premiums and services associated with the policy that differ from company to company, but this is simply how they compete. If you enroll in Medicare Parts A and B, it is best to select a Medigap policy as well.
Medicare Part D
One important element of a good healthcare plan is medication, but traditional Medicare and supplemental policies do not cover drugs. Medicare part D, although optional, will cover a large portion of your prescription costs. As a supplement, you will need to be enrolled in traditional Medicare, and you need to enroll in Medicare Part D too. These supplements are offered by private-sector insurance companies. You will pay premiums based on your income, and there is a deductible associated with the plan.
Medicare Part C – Medicare Advantage
This is an alternative to traditional medicare. It is not available in every area of the country, but if you live in an area that offers it, you should look at the specifics of one or more of these plans. With Medicare Advantage, there is no need for supplemental plans, and since the medication is included, you won't need Medicare Part D. There is coverage not offered by traditional Medicare. Most notable are dental, eyeglasses, and hearing aids. Medicare Advantage plans are offered by private sector companies.
If you choose to enroll in traditional Medicare Parts A and B, you should understand this will cover approximately 80 percent of your medical bills. However, there are supplemental policies to help. Medicare part D can help cover your medication bills, but you may want to look at a comprehensive Medicare Advantage plan as an alternative to supplemental coverage.
To learn more about Medicare health plans, contact a local Medicare insurance provider.