Medicare 101

What are the four parts of Medicare?

Christian Worstell

by Christian Worstell | Published September 24, 2020 | Reviewed by John Krahnert

Medicare is divided into four parts: A, B, C, and D.

The first two parts, A and B, are sometimes called “Original Medicare.”

Part C, also known as “Medicare Advantage” is a private insurance plan that provides similar benefits as Original Medicare.

The final piece of Medicare, Part D, are prescription drug plans.

Another aspect of Medicare coverage you can consider is Medicare Supplement Insurance (also called Medigap). These are insurance plans that help pay for out-of-pocket costs that Medicare doesn't cover, such as deductibles, copays, coinsurance and more.

Medicare Part A

Part A is the hospital insurance part of Original Medicare. If you enroll in Medicare, you must have Part A. All of the other parts are optional.

The coverage for Part A spans from inpatient hospital care to at-home physical therapy. It also covers blood transfusions after the first 3 pints of blood and inpatient care at a religious, non-medical care facility.

Monthly Premium

Most people don’t have to pay the Medicare Part A premium, which can be as high as $458 per month in 2020.

Your Part A coverage is free if you or your spouse paid Medicare taxes while working for at least 40 quarters (10 years), or if you are eligible or receive retirement benefits from Social Security or the Railroad Retirement Board.

Deductible

When you use Medicare Part A, you have to pay a deductible before coverage kicks in.

The Medicare Part A deductible is $1,408 in 2020. If you use Part A, you will have some co-insurance costs you need to pay before your care is covered.

Learn more about Medicare Part A.

Medicare Part B

Medicare Part B is the medical insurance part of Original Medicare, and enrolling in Medicare Part B is optional.

When you sign up for Medicare Part A, you can reject Part B coverage during the initial enrollment period.

Medicare Part B covers health care benefits ranging from yearly wellness exams to preventative services, which include vaccinations and cancer screenings.

Monthly Premium

The monthly premium for Medicare Part B is about $144.60 in 2020. However, your premium may be higher if your income is above a certain level.

Deductible

When you use Medicare Part B, you have to pay a deductible before coverage kicks in.

The Medicare Part B deductible, which you have to pay once a year, is $198 in 2019. If you use Medicare Part B, you will also have to pay a 20% co-insurance for the cost of your care.

Learn more about Part B.

Medicare Part C

Medicare Part C (also called Medicare Advantage) is insurance that covers the same things as Original Medicare, but it is provided by private companies and usually includes additional benefits, such as prescription drug coverage, vision, dental, and wellness programs.

Medicare Part D

Medicare Part D is the Prescription Drug Coverage portion of Medicare.

Part D plans are offered by private insurers and not the federal government. It is an optional add-on to Original Medicare to help cover prescription drug expenses.

You can compare Part D plans available where you live and enroll in a Medicare prescription drug plan online when you visit MyRxPlans.com.

Find Medicare Supplement Plans That Help Cover Your Medicare Costs

If you receive treatment that is covered by Medicare, you may likely face out-of-pocket Medicare costs such as deductibles, coinsurance and copayments.

A Medicare Supplement Insurance (Medigap) plan can help cover some of these costs.

For example, each of the 10 standardized Medigap plans that are available in most states provide at least partial coverage for the Medicare Part B coinsurance or copayments you might face when you receive covered outpatient treatments.

A licensed agent can help you decide on a Medicare option that works for you. Call today to speak with a licensed agent and compare the Medigap plans that are available where you live.

 

Find Medigap plans in your area.

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Or call 1-800-995-4219 to speak with a licensed insurance agent.

 

Christian Worstell is a health care and policy writer for MedicareSupplement.com. He has written hundreds of articles helping people better understand their Medicare coverage options.

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