1. Hospital Insurance (Part A)
- Medicare Part A
pays for inpatient hospital care, critical access hospitals (small facilities that provide limited services for outpatient and inpatient in rural areas), skilled nursing facilities (following a hospital stay), hospice care, and some home health care. It is important for those new to Medicare to know you may be automatically enrolled when you turn 65. Part A is free for most people, even if you are new to Medicare, as long as you have paid Medicare taxes while working at least ten years in a Medicare covered employment. Part A does have deductibles for hospitals stays and stays at skilled nursing facilities.
2. Medical Insurance (Part B)
- For those new to Medicare, Medicare Part B
pays for doctor's services and other medical services and supplies that are not covered by hospital insurance. Medicare pays for 80% of the "reasonable charge" for Part B covered services after you have met your yearly deductible and you pay for the remaining 20%. Those new to Medicare should be aware Part B has a monthly premium that depends upon your income. For people who are new to Medicare, enrolling in Part B is a choice. You can sign up for Part B anytime during a seven-month period that starts three months before you reach age 65. However, keep in mind that you may incur a penalty if you do not buy Part B when you are first eligible.
3. Medicare Advantage (Part C)
- Medicare Part C
is another health plan choice that must provide as much coverage as your Part A and Part B coverage and sometimes offers additional coverage (like dental or vision). Those new to Medicare will want to be aware that some Medicare Advantage plans include Part D, prescription drug, benefits as well. Part C plans are normally provided through one of these options: an HMO, a PPO, or a PFFS. If you are new to Medicare, look for a comprehensive plan finder to compare Medicare plans.
4. Prescription Drug Coverage (Part D)
- Those new to Medicare may not know Medicare Part D
is associated with your prescription drug coverage. Part D plans have a monthly premium and a list of covered drugs, a "formulary", which determines if your medications are covered by the plan and at what cost. There are a variety of Part D plans available and many vary in terms of formulary and costs - whether you are new to Medicare Part D or switching plans. Those new to Medicare should know that Part D coverage can be available as a stand-alone plan or can be bundled in a Medicare Advantage Prescription Drug plan.