| Thu, Feb 18, 2016 @ 09:00 AM

Medicare: How to Put the Parts Together

Posted by Medicare Made Clear

medicareMaking Medicare choices is not always as easy as A, B, C, D—but it’s a good place to start.

You probably know that Medicare Parts A and B make up what is traditionally called Original Medicare. Part A provides coverage for inpatient care, such as when you’re in the hospital. Part B provides coverage for outpatient care, such as doctor visits. Original Medicare is administered by the federal government.

Simple enough…until you hear that there’s a Part C and a Part D. Congress added Parts C and D to the Medicare program to offer more choices to beneficiaries.

Part C is Medicare Advantage, which allows private insurance companies approved by Medicare to offer Medicare plans to anyone eligible. Medicare Advantage plans provide all the benefits of Original Medicare, plus many include additional benefits.

Part D is Medicare prescription drug coverage. It’s also offered by private insurance companies.  You may buy a standalone Part D plan to add to Original Medicare coverage. Or you may get Part D drug coverage included within a Medicare Advantage plan.

Finally, there is Medicare supplement insurance, or Medigap. Medigap plans are private insurance plans that you may buy to help with some of the costs that Original Medicare doesn’t pay, like deductibles, copays and coinsurance. Medigap plans work only with Original Medicare. You can’t use a Medigap plan with a Medicare Advantage plan.

So going back to the ABCs, here is a summary of your choices:

  • Parts A and B make up government-run Original Medicare. You may add a private Part D plan and/or a private Medigap plan.
  • Part C is Medicare Advantage, and many of these private plans include Part D coverage.

Remember, you can change your coverage choices during Open Enrollment, October 15 – December 7. If you decide to look into a Part C, Part D or Medigap plan, the Medicare Plan Finder is a good place to start.

For more information, explore MedicareMadeClear.com or contact the Medicare helpline 24 hours a day, seven days a week at 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227), TTY 1-877-486-2048.