Medicare is simply this:  health insurance for those Americans age 65 or older, or people under 65 who suffer certain disabilities.  This page, however, will be focusing on those who are 65 or older.  It is run by CMS (Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services).

Medicare’s Four Parts

Medicare Part A is hospital insurance.   It mainly covers care while you are admitted to the hospital, home health care, skilled nursing (not to be confused with longterm care) and hospice.

Medicare Part B is medical insurance.  It covers doctors office visits, outpatient care, durable medical equipment and preventative services.

Medicare Part C is Medicare Advantage.  Although this is a “part” of medicare, it is actually ran by private companies that are approved by Medicare.  These plans replace Part A and Part B, and may include Part D.

Medicare Part D is Medicare Prescription Drug coverage.  It helps cover outpatient prescriptions.  This, like Medicare Part C, is run by private companies approved by Medicare.

 Not One Size Fits All

What’s nice about the parts of Medicare is this:  you have options.  The difficult part is figuring out what works for you.  There are things that people should know about each part that may affect not only if you decide to subscribe, but also when you do.  Here’s an example:

Option 1) You decide to take just Medicare Part A and Part B.  In this, you will have no prescription drug coverage and there will be deductibles and copays that you are responsible for.

Option 2) You decide to Take Medicare A, Part B, Part D, and a Supplement.  You have the potential to cover most holes in Medicare, have access to lower costs on prescriptions, but have a higher premium (and sometimes absolutely no deductible depending on which plan you take).

Option 3)You decide to take Medicare Part C.  In this, you will effectively lose Part A and Part B, will have deductibles, possible prescription coverage all in the same plan, but have a lower premium than option 3.

Option 4)You decide to stay on your work plan and opt for a combination of Part A, and/or Part B, and/or Part D.  This would be an option for those retiring with great health plans, like the General Motors plan (until the Cadillac tax, that is).  Others in this situation may have the option of healthcare cost reimbursement through employee programs.  In most cases, you are not stuck with the insurance plan that your employer offers with that reimbursement program.

View the details of Parts A-D and then click here to advance to information about Supplements.