Medicare coverage is broken down into parts A, B, C and D. Medicare part A (hospital coverage) and medicare part B (medical coverage) are run by the federal government. Part C (medicare advantage) and part D (medicare supplement) are administered by private insurance carriers and are approved by the federal government to replace or supplement parts A and B.
How you manage your medicare coverage is an important part of financial planning if you are of the age where you qualify for benefits of any kind. Here we will provide a very basic overview of medicare parts A and B and how they work. In subsequent articles we will discuss medicare parts C and D and how you can use these private plans to actively manage your individual situation.
Medicare part A – hospital coverage
Medicare part A is hospital coverage, and you do not have to pay premiums for this coverage if you are age 65 and you meet certain requirements. Medicare part A covers medically necessary services required to treat a disease or condition. These include hospital care, skilled nursing facility care, nursing home care, hospice, and home health services.
Medicare part B – medical coverage
Medicare part B is outpatient coverage, and you must typically pay premiums for part B. You must under many circumstances enroll in medicare part B when you are first eligible. If you do not, you will have to pay a penalty in the form if higher premiums when you finally do enroll, unless you meet certain exceptions. Medicare part B covers medically necessary supplies and services needed for diagnosis or treatment of your condition. This includes services received at a doctor’s office, clinic, hospital, or other health facility.