What exactly is Medicare? Am I eligible?
Medicare is a federal health insurance program for people who are:
- 65 or older
- Younger but with certain disabilities
- Individuals with End-Stage Renal Disease (ESRD)
There are different parts of Medicare that help cover specific services:
- Medicare Part A (Hospital Insurance) – Covers inpatient hospital stays, care in a skilled nursing facility, hospice care, and some health care.
- Medicare Part B (Medical Coverage) – Covers certain doctors’ services, outpatient care, medical supplies, and preventative services.
- Medicare Part C (Medicare Advantage Plans) – A type of Medicare health plan offered by a private company that contracts through Medicare to provide you with Part A and Part B benefits. Medicare Advantage Plans include Health Maintenance Organizations (HMO), Preferred Providers Organizations (PPO), Private Fee-for-Service Plans (FFS), and Medicare Medical Savings Account Plans. If you’re enrolled in a Medicare Advantage Plan, most Medicare services are covered through the plan and aren’t paid for under Original Medicare. Most Medicare Advantage Plans offer prescription drug coverage as well.
- Medicare Part D (prescription drug coverage) – Adds prescription drug coverage to Original Medicare, some Medicare Cost Plans, some Medicare Private-Fee-for-Service Plans, and Medicare Medical Savings Account Plans may also offer prescription drug coverage that follows the same rules as Medicare Prescription Drug Plans.
Which plan is best for me; Medicare or Medicare Advantage?
The Medicare coverage option you select (if eligible) truly depends on what health care needs you have. Similar to choosing any coverage plan, you’ll also want to take into account your future health.
As you can see above, each part of Medicare coverage pertains to a specific form of medical care, where as Medicare Advantage (which is offered through providers) often times includes multiple aspects of the individual parts. Medicare Advantage is the most comprehensive selection and includes more access to specialized healthcare facilities.
Ultimately, you are the best judge of what is most appropriate for you; Medicare or Medicare Advantage. Just make sure that you are the most informed you can be before making your choice.
For more information about whether and when you can or should enroll in Medicare, visit here.
For help finding a Medicare plan that is right for you, visit here.