Like most of us who are aging, the Medicare parts sure have changed.
Original Medicare had only two parts – Part A and Part B. Now we’re up to Part D.
So, what are the different parts? Does it make sense for you (or your family member) to sign up for some or all of the Medicare parts? What happens if you don’t?
What started as an enrollment nightmare for my mom has turned into a series on Medicare Basics. I hope to shed some light on this confusing topic. Funny how quickly my own Medicare eligibility is sneaking up on me. When did that happen?
Now for our disclaimer commercial break.
I am not an attorney or health care provider and cannot provide legal or health care advice. The information provided is for your general background only, and is not intended to constitute legal, insurance or health care advice as to your specific circumstances. I recommend reviewing your options with a qualified insurance adviser.
Okay, I’m back. Let’s get started on Medicare parts dissection.
The Beginning Parts
Way back in 1996 when the first eligible individual signed up for Medicare benefits, there were two parts.
- Part A (hospital insurance) provides coverage for approved services for hospitals, skilled nursing facilities, nursing home care, home health care, and hospice.
- Part B (medical insurance) provides coverage for approved services and supplies. For example: services from your physicians, lab tests and x-rays, durable medical equipment, preventive care, and outpatient services.
As noted in the eligibility post, some people are automatically eligible for Medicare. Others have to sign up for Parts A and B. See the graphic below to determine if you or your family member need to sign up.
NOTE: The graphic is an oversimplification. As all things legislative, there are a lot of moving parts.
For example, you learned in the eligibility post that if you or your family member have end stage renal disease (ESRD), you may be eligible for Medicare. However, you would need to sign up. It is not automatic.
Paying the Part
Medicare Part A (hospital insurance) is available at no cost for most people. But you do need to meet the following requirements.
Medicare Part B (medical insurance) is available to anyone who is eligible for Part A (hospital insurance). However, it does come with a price tag.
If you receive Social Security, Railroad Retirement Board (RRB) benefits, or Civil Service benefits, your premium will be deducted from your benefit payment.
You have different options for paying your Part B premium. Check them out here at Medicare.gov.
More Medicare Parts
You had to know that private insurance would want to get into the Medicare game. And the gaping hole of a prescription drug benefit also urged the creation of yet another part to Medicare.
Here are the parts (so far).
Phew. Confused yet?
I said we would talk about what happens if you don’t sign up for certain Medicare Parts. And there are important factors to know about signing up for a Medicare Advantage plan instead of Original Medicare.
But let’s make those a topic for another day. If you’re like me, your brain could use the rest.
Notice of Disclaimer –Cathy Miller is not an attorney or health care provider and cannot provide legal or health care advice. The information provided is for your general background only, and is not intended to constitute legal or health care advice as to your specific circumstances. We recommend you review legislation with legal counsel and visit your physician for health care issues.