An overview of the Medicare plans

Medicare is a federal health insurance program for individuals suffering from certain medical conditions or those above 65. It is divided into a few parts, each serving a different purpose. Medical expenses are on the rise, and the various services and benefits of Medicare plans make such burdens easier to bear. Here is all you should know to opt for a Medicare plan.

Different parts of Medicare
Medicare provides various services through four different parts, which are:

  • Medicare part A

Part A of Medicare covers costs and services like hospice care, home health care, inpatient care in a hospital, and nursing home care, which includes care given in inpatient care that is not long-term or custodial. It also offers skilled nursing facility care.

  • Medicare part B

This part covers two types of services: preventive and medically-necessary. Preventive services include health care to detect or prevent illnesses like the flu when treating it is the easiest. Medically-necessary health care includes supplies or services required to treat a medical condition meeting the accepted medical practice standards.

  • Medicare part C

This plan is provided by private insurance companies who get into a contract with Medicare and provide the same services and benefits offered by the latter. This part is also known as Medicare Advantage plans.

  • Medicare part D

Part D of the Medicare plan covers the cost of prescription drugs, including vaccines and shots, if any.

Costs for Original Medicare plans
You can use the Medicare Plan Finder app to find the prices charged by the providers in your location. Here are the basic premium costs of parts A and B of Medicare.

  • Medicare part A

Many are not charged a premium for this part. So it is also known as premium-free part A. You need to pay $458 in the year 2020 to buy part A. The same cost is $471 in 2021. The cost varies depending on the Medicare taxes you paid. The premium is $458 if the tax is less than 30 quarters. The standard premium would be $252 if you paid Medicare taxes between 30 to 39 quarters.

  • Medicare part B

You need to pay the standard part B premium of $144.60 or $148.50 in 2021. This price can go higher depending on your income.

What is a Medicare health plan?
Private companies get into a contract with Medicare to provide Medicare parts A and B, which constitutes hospital and medical insurance, along with additional benefits. A Medicare health plan includes Medical Advantage plans, Medicare Cost plans, Programs of All-inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE), Demonstrations/Pilot Programs, and Medication Therapy Management (MTM) programs for complex health needs.

What comes under Medicare Advantage plans?
Private insurance companies also provide Medicare plans, known as Medicare Advantage. Apart from the hospice care paid for by Original Medicare, the insurance company offers the remaining coverage and services. These providers offer the same health care services and advantages as Original Medicare. Besides, the private insurance companies provide additional features and offers which prompt many to join Medicare Advantage.

Some of these benefits include prescription drug coverage, routine vision and dental care, fitness programs, and hearing aids. The costs for these services vary, with certain companies offering a premium of $0 for their Medicare Advantage plan. You will have to continue paying for Medicare part B premium regardless of the amount charged by Advantage.