Are you unsure about how to plan for Medicare? If you currently have comprehensive coverage through your employer’s health insurance plan or through an individual plan, you may be wondering whether you’ll be able to get the same services with Medicare. It’s a good idea to look closely at the health care coverage you have now, to understand what Medicare has to offer and to begin planning before you become eligible.
Medicare Part A is hospital insurance and covers care received in a hospital or skilled nursing facility. You are automatically enrolled in Part A when you become eligible for Medicare. You are responsible for co-pays, coinsurance and deductibles, but Part A is premium-free for anyone who contributed to Medicare through payroll deductions—or whose spouse has contributed—for at least 10 years. Otherwise, you must pay a premium.
Medicare Part B is medical insurance and covers doctor visits, outpatient services, lab tests, some preventive care and more. You must enroll in Part B, pay a monthly premium, meet a deductible and pay copays or coinsurance.
Together, Medicare Part A and Medicare Part B make up what’s known as Original Medicare, which is administered by the federal government. Original Medicare offers a high degree of flexibility in choosing the medical professionals and facilities that you wish to use.
Medicare Advantage plans (Part C) are offered by private insurance companies. Medicare Advantage plans include hospital and medical insurance, like Original Medicare, and may include additional features such as prescription drug coverage. Many Medicare Advantage plans also offer dental care, vision care, hearing care and wellness programs.
Medicare Advantage plans vary greatly in coverage, cost and flexibility. Also, different plans are offered by different companies in different parts of the country. You need to research and compare the plans available in your area to find one that meets your individual needs.
It’s important to understand your current health care coverage and to assess how you use it. With this information, you can begin looking at Medicare plans that provide coverage similar to what you have now