A Guide to Medicare Insurance Plans

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Medicare pays for medical care for people with disabilities and older people of the U.S. The plans include hospital, medical, and a separate prescription drug plan and other coverage. You need to select the type of medicare plan that you can afford and also review the methods in which the federal government can help you pay the costs of Medicare in case you cannot afford them.

Part A: Hospital Coverage

Once you become eligible for Medicare and apply for it, you automatically get enrolled in Part A. This part covers hospice care, hospital stays and skilled nursing care that may be required by you in case you are hospitalized for a serious injury that needs rehabilitation in a nursing home.

Part B: Doctors & outpatient services

Part B covers lab tests, medical equipment, diagnostic screenings, doctor visits and ambulance transportation. Part B is costlier than Part A and you may want to postpone signing up for this part in case you are still working or are covered under the health plan of your spouse. But if you do not have any other insurance and do not even sign up for Part B when you enroll in Medicare, you will be required to pay a higher monthly premium till the time you stay in the program.

Part C: Medicare Advantage

Medicare Advantage health plans cover all that original Medicare covers along with the plans that provide for services like vision and dental care which original Medicare doesn’t. Lately, the Centers for Medicaid Services and Medicare has permitted Medicare Advantage plans to cover extra services like transportation to and from the doctor’s office, meal delivery, etc.

Part D: Prescription drugs

Part D plan is purchased from a private insurer. There are usually some out-of-pocket costs and other premiums for different medications and there may also be a yearly deductible. In case you have a high prescription of drug bills, you will be subject to the Medicare prescription drug coverage gap, also known as the doughnut hole. Once your drug plan has incurred a certain amount of cost for your drugs, you will be required to pay a minimum of 25% of the cost of prescription drugs under a brand name and 37% of the cost of generic drugs.

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