Medicare can be an easy transition if you know what to expect and ignore the massive amount of mail that is sitting in your mailbox each day. For most people you can get by this transition by knowing that when it comes to Medicare there are parts and there are plans.
The Parts of Medicare
There are three parts of Medicare that work together to provide you with health insurance coverage. Part A is designed to help with the expenses of being admitted to the hospital, hospice care, and skilled nursing care. Medicare Part B is there to help with out-patient services. These include doctor’s office visits and many minor surgeries. Basically if you do not get admitted to the hospital and you are not dying then Part B is what you will be using. Medicare Part D is designed to help with the cost of prescription drugs. These three pieces make up what most people would call “Traditional Medicare Coverage.”
Most people see me talk about Part A, Part B, and Part D and they ask, “What happened to Part C?” Part C does not work with the other three it is instead a program called Medicare Advantage that replaces traditional Medicare coverage with a private insurance policy. These policies are subsidized with the money that would normally get spent on your Medicare coverage and can be a great option for people who do not travel long distances.
Medicare Supplement Plans
Once you have your Medicare in place you will quickly realize that there are gaps in the coverage that Medicare provides. This means that people on a fixed income could be in a position where they have to deal with a large bill after an extended hospital stay or a series of out-patient services. To help with this private insurance companies partnered with the government to provide Medicare supplemental insurance. These Medigap plans are designed to fill the coverage gaps in Medicare Part A and Part B. There are ten plans in all and each one covers a different number of the gaps. The same plans have been adopted by 47 of the 50 states, with the exceptions being Massachusetts, Wisconsin, and Minnesota, whom have adopted their own standardized plans. What that means is that the best Texas Medicare supplement is no better in coverage than the same California Medicare supplement.
The vast majority of people on traditional Medicare coverage can benefit from one of these plans to make sure they only have to deal with a monthly bill instead of a large out of pocket health expense.
By getting the idea of parts and Medicare supplement plans in your head you can easily handle your transition to Medicare health insurance.