| Tue, Apr 10, 2012 @ 09:00 AM

Compare and Learn: Medicare Made Clear Plan Type Comparison Chart

Posted by Medicare Made Clear

Compare and Learn: Medicare Made Clear Plan Type Comparison ChartWhen looking at Medicare plans, everyone’s needs are different. Are you thinking about whether or not your current Medicare coverage meets your needs? Are you new to Medicare and just want to see what’s out there before making a decision? No matter what your reason, you might wish there was a way to compare general information side-by-side. That way, you’ll learn the basics of each plan type before you research the specific plans that best meet your needs. Welcome to the MedicareMadeClear Plan Type Comparison chart.

Designed With You in Mind

The MedicareMadeClear Plan Type Comparison Chart was designed based on real user feedback. The chart hits the highlights of coverage options: Original Medicare Part A & Part B, Medicare Advantage (Part C), Medicare Part D prescription drug coverage and Medicare supplement insurance. You’ll see reasons why someone might consider each plan, and how the parts work together.

Before you get to the checklist, let’s explore a bit more about the types of Medicare coverage.

Original Medicare: Basic Coverage

Original Medicare is insurance coverage offered by the government. It’s divided into two parts, Part A and Part B. Part A helps with hospital costs. This includes hospital stays, skilled nursing services following a hospital stay, plus some other skilled care.

Original Medicare Part B helps with doctor and outpatient care. It helps pay for “medically necessary” services like doctor visits, outpatient care Care you receive as a hospital patient if you are not admitted for an inpatient stay, or care you receive in a freestanding clinic or surgery center as an outpatient.

in hospitals and clinics, laboratory tests and some skilled nursing Nursing care that should be provided only by a licensed nurse.

care at home if you’re housebound. Part B also helps pay for many tests and screenings to help you stay healthy. Original Medicare doesn’t generally include prescription drug coverage, so you’ll need to keep this in mind when comparing plans. If you think basic Medicare coverage will suit your needs, Original Medicare Parts A & B might be right for you.

Medicare Advantage plans: Original Medicare + Extra Benefits

When looking at Medicare Advantage Plans (Medicare Part C), it might be helpful to think of them as Original Medicare + extra benefits. All Medicare Advantage plans are provided through private insurance companies and offer the same coverage as Original Medicare Parts A & B. From there, additional benefits can vary widely from plan to plan. This might allow you to find a plan that meets your specific needs, rather than settling for a “one size fits all” plan. Do you need a plan that offers prescription drug coverage? Do you need dental coverage wrapped into your benefits? How about extras like a fitness benefit or wellness services? If you want one plan with the same coverage as Original Medicare Parts A & B that may include prescription drug coverage plus extra benefits, it might be worth looking into a Medicare Advantage plan.

Medicare Part D: Prescription Drug Coverage

Medicare Part D helps with the cost of prescription drugs. In an earlier paragraph, we told you Original Medicare didn’t generally include prescription drug coverage. To help pay for prescription drugs, most people buy additional Part D coverage. There are two main ways to get this coverage: a standalone Part D prescription drug plan or a Medicare Advantage plan with a prescription drug benefit. Provided by private insurance companies, standalone Part D plans are just what they sound like: plans that only offer help paying for prescription drugs. Another option that might work for you would be to look at Medicare Advantage plans that offer prescription drug coverage as a plan benefit. Both types can differ in cost and the drugs they’ll cover, so be sure to do your homework.

There are some important rules you should remember when thinking about Part D prescription drug coverage. These include enrollment deadlines and how long you’re allowed to go without prescription drug coverage. Be sure to familiarize yourself with these rules to avoid paying a penalty, such as a higher monthly premium.

Medicare Supplement Insurance Plans

Medicare Supplement Insurance plans are also called “Medigap” plans and they help pay expenses not covered by Original Medicare Parts A & B.  The Plans are provided by private insurance companies.

Next Step – the Medicare.gov Plan Finder tool

The Medicare Made Clear Plan Type Comparison Chart is a good way to compare basic information about the different types of coverage. When you’re ready to learn about specific plans, a helpful next step might be visiting the Medicare.gov plan finder tool. This tool shows you plans available in your area. You can compare these side-by-side to see specific information like costs and plan features.

Everyone needs something a little different from their Medicare coverage. The MedicareMadeClear Plan Type Comparison Chart can be a good first step to help you compare the basics of each type of coverage. Once you have a clearer picture of the specific plans that best meet your needs—and those that may not—you can make a confident choice today or in the future.

For more information, contact the Medicare helpline 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227), TTY 1-877-486-2048. If you have questions about Medicare Made Clear, call 1-877-619-5582, TTY 711, 8 a.m. – 8 p.m. local time, 7 days a week.

Resources:

Plan Type Comparison Chart: MedicareMadeClear Plan Type Comparison chart

Medicare.gov Plan Finder: Medicare Plan Finder tool on the Medicare.gov site

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