There are four different parts of Medicare. You can choose the basic ones or the ones that allow more coverage.
Medicare Part A, B, C, & D
When you apply to Medicare, Part A is what you’ll be automatically enrolled in. Plan A is your hospital insurance plan. It covers nursing care and hospital stays as well as some health services, skilled nursing care after a hospital stay and hospice care, but it does not cover doctors’ fees. While you don’t have to pay a monthly premium for Part A, you will have to pay a yearly deductible before Medicare will cover any hospitalization costs.
Medicare Part B is your medical coverage. It pays for a portion of your doctor visits, some home health care, medical equipment, outpatient procedures, rehabilitation therapy, laboratory texts, X-rays, mental health services, ambulance services and blood. Part B is optional and requires that you pay a monthly premium to Medicare and there is a small deductible. People with higher incomes – above $85,000 annually for individuals or $170,000 for a couple – pay higher rates.
If you opt out of Medicare Part B when you initially enroll but later decide that you want the coverage, you may have to pay a higher premium.
Medicare Part C is your private insurance option, also known as Medicare Advantage. In order to have Part C, you need to be enrolled in Part A and Part B. By law, Part C is required to cover the same things as original Medicare, but sometimes covers things that original Medicare does not cover, like vision and dental. Most, but not all, Medicare Advantage plans cover prescription drug coverage. Medicare Advantage plans are typically organized as health maintenance organizations (HMOs) or preferred provider organizations (PPOs). With these plans, you typically choose one doctor as your primary care provider, and your choice of doctors, hospitals and other health care providers is restricted.
Medicare Part D is your prescription drug plan. Part D is optional, but you must be enrolled in Part A and Part B or a Part C plan. Part D plans are offered through private insurance companies that are approved by Medicare. If you are enrolled in Part D then you will pay a monthly premium and sometimes a deductible, as well as co-payments for prescriptions.
When choosing your Medicare Plan, be sure to do your research and get what is best for you.
If you are nearing or already 65 and would like more information on Medicare Plans in Washington State, please visit our Overview of Medicare, as well as our guide for those who are New to Medicare. For assistance in choosing a Medicare plan, contact us to get in touch with a licensed insurance agent today!