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Understanding Medicare and its parts

Finance & Planning | Jun 23, 2015

When planning for you health, it's important to have all the facts. While you've likely heard of Medicare, you might not know exactly what it is, let alone the various parts included in the program. How does it help? What plan do I need?

As there is a lot to consider when it comes to Medicare, it's understandable that you might not know every aspect of it. But, it's important to have a at least some knowledge of the general outlines of Medicare so you can start preparing. So what is it?

Medicare is health insurance for those 65 and older. However, it is also available for individuals under 65 with certain disabilities, as well as people of any age with end-stage renal disease. While coverage does extend to those under 65, anyone nearing that age or who has just turned 65, is encouraged to enroll.

What are the different parts?
You also may have heard of the different parts of Medicare, which provides you options in choosing coverage;

  • Medicare Part A is also known as hospital insurance. It covers any inpatient care in a hospital as well as care at a skilled nursing facility, hospice or home healthcare.
  • Medicare Part B is medical insurance. It covers healthcare providers' and doctors' services including outpatient care, durable medical equipment and home healthcare. It also covers certain preventative services.
  • Medicare Part C is also known as a Medicare Advantage plan. This option is run by Medicare-approved private insurance companies, allowing you to get the benefits of coverage provided by both Medicare Part A and B.
  • Medicare Part D helps cover the costs for prescription drugs. It is run by Medicare-approved insurance companies, and can be included as a part of a Medicare Advantage plan.