Medicare Parts Explained – Part-A, Part-B, Part-C, Part-D


February 2, 2012 Facebook Twitter LinkedIn Google+ Senior Medicare Issues


Changes in Medicare Advantage Plans for seniors

ARE YOU CONFUSED BY MEDICARE?

Medicare has become more complex than ever with a barrage of new programs all labeled as “Parts” when looking at the Medicare system.  When the average senior hears Medicare Part A, B, C, or D, they are left with a uncertain perspective on the many number of programs and exactly how they are provisioned and exactly what each Part provides.

HOW OLD DO I NEED TO BE TO APPLY FOR MEDICARE?

For individuals age 65 or above, Medicare is a single-payer, governmental health insurance system with many options and sections offering various forms and levels of coverage.  In certain cases, individuals younger than age 65 may also qualify for Medicare benefits including citizens with certain disabilities and other diseases such as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (Lou Gehrig’s disease) and permanent kidney failure.  It’s important to remember that Medicare does not cover all medical expenses or the cost of most long-term care.

HOW IS MEDICARE FUNDED?

Medicare is funded by payroll taxes that are normally deducted from workers paychecks during their lifelong careers.  Reasonable Medicare premiums are also a source of additional funding for this medical insurance program.  These premiums are typically deducted from beneficiaries Social Security checks when they become eligible for Social Security distributions or benefits.

APPLYING FOR MEDICARE

The U.S. Federal government agency in charge of administering the Medicare program is called the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.   As Medicare is so closely tied to the Social Security system, when it is time for you to apply for Medicare you can either apply through your nearest hometown Social Security office or, in today’s internet age, you can apply directly online while in your pajamas.  It’s easy and takes only ten minutes and you will avoid a trip across town and save gasoline too.  If you are at least 64 years and 8 months old, they may apply online.  All of the information is entered in a secure and safe online form.  If you are uncertain and have some fears about using online forms, consider having a trusted relative help you out.  Your grandchildren have grown-up with the internet and will most likely being thrilled to assist you in your application.

If you are ready to dig-in and would like to apply for Medicare AND Social Security benefits online at the same time go to medicare.gov.  If you are within four months of age 65 or you are older and not yet ready to start your monthly cash benefits, you can sign up for Medicare ONLY at this time, then apply for your retirement or spouses benefits later.  If you are going to delay your Social Security benefits for a later age and apply for Medicare ONLY, you should http://www.ssa.gov/retire2/justmedicare.htm and read this important information prior to making your decision.

Find An Overview of Medicare Parts A, B, C and D below.   Go to Medicare.gov

Medicare Part A (Standard Medicare Hospital Insurance)

  • Helps cover costs for hospital inpatient care
  • Helps cover skilled nursing facility, hospice, and home health care

Medicare Part B (Standard Medicare Medical Insurance)

  • Helps cover doctors’ and other health care providers’ services, outpatient care, durable medical equipment, and home health care
  • Helps cover some preventive care services to better maintain your overall health
  • Helps cover preventative services to assist in and control certain illnesses from progressing to more serious conditions

Medicare Part C (Medicare Advantage)

  • Offers health plan options run by Medicare-approved private insurance companies
  • Medicare Advantage Plans are a way to get the benefits and services covered under Part A and Part B
  • Most Medicare Advantage Plans cover Medicare prescription drug coverage (Part D)
  • Some Medicare Advantage Plans may include extra benefits for an extra cost

Medicare Part D (Medicare Prescription Drug Coverage)

  • Helps cover the cost of prescription drugs for seniors and the qualified disabled
  • May help lower senior’s prescription drug costs and help protect against higher costs in the future
  • Run by Medicare-approved private insurance companies

Watch this video with television/movie stars from the golden era, George Takei and Patty Duke in a small skit about the ease of applying online for Medicare.