The ABCs of Medicare:
Whether you are getting ready to sign up for Medicare for the first time, or you already have Medicare and are approaching an Open Enrollment Period, sometimes it’s good to get back to basics. Here is a review of the different parts of Medicare.
- Medicare Part A. For most people this is free – well, actually you already paid for it. It covers hospitals, nursing home care and Hospice care.
- Medicare Part B covers doctors’ visits, outpatient therapy and durable medical equipment. There is a monthly premium for your Part B coverage.
- Medicare Part D is prescription drug coverage.
- Medicare Advantage, also known as Part C, consists of managed care plans from private companies that combine Medicare A, B, and D.
- Medigap or a Medicare Supplement, can help pay some of the costs that Original Medicare doesn’t cover. This can include copayments, coinsurance, and deductibles. This is sold by private companies.
Medicare Open Enrollment is the time of year, from October 15 to December 7, when you can evaluate and/or make changes to your Medicare Part D, or your Medicare Advantage Plan. You can also add or change a Medigap Plan at this time. It’s important to annually reevaluate your Medicare coverage and see if it still provides for your needs.
Your Initial Enrollment Period is the time when you can sign up for Parts A and B. This is the 7-month period surrounding your 65th birthday (three months before and three months after your birthday month.)
If you want to find out about using Medicare Nursing Home Compare to find a nursing home, read this article.