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A Guide to Understanding Medicare A, B and D

A Guide to Understanding Medicare A, B and D

The experts at Five Star Senior Living have sorted through the alphabet soup of Medicare coverage and come up with this overview.

What Is Medicare Part A?

Medicare Part A makes up “original Medicare.” Part A, often considered “hospital coverage,” pays for:

  • Hospital care
  • Skilled nursing care (at home or in a rehab center)
  • Hospice
  • Home health services

What Is Medicare Part B?

Medicare Part B is available to cover many of your medical expenses not related to hospitalization or nursing care.

Part B covers both preventative care and medically necessary services and supplies to detect, treat or cure a disease, illness, or medical issue.

Specifically, Medicare Part B covers:

  • Wellness or preventative care visits
  • Doctor’s visits to diagnose, treat, or cure a medical problem
  • Transportation by ambulance
  • Medical equipment
  • Clinical research
  • Inpatient or outpatient mental health diagnosis or treatment
  • Medical tests
  • Limited outpatient prescription drugs

What Is Medicare Part D?

You may be surprised to learn that Part B does cover some prescription drugs. However, most Medicare recipients prefer to invest in additional prescription drug coverage, or Medicare Part D.

It’s important to note that those who choose a Medicare Advantage plan (under Medicare Part C), will likely have prescription drug coverage included. But if you opt for traditional Medicare Parts A and B coverage, supplementing with Part D can help keep prescription drug costs down.

Part A Costs and Options

Part A coverage carries no premiums for most people over the age of 65 and for select individuals under that age. However, Medicare recipients pay 20% of costs on their own. So purchasing a supplemental insurance policy might make sense for many seniors.

Part B Costs and Options

Unlike Part A, which is paid for by the taxes you paid while you were working, Part B carries a monthly premium. The amount is determined based on your gross income for the previous year.

If you are currently working and have insurance from your employer, there may not be a need to sign up for Medicare Part B coverage. It may be secondary to your primary coverage.

Signing Up For Medicare

You can sign up for Medicare during  your initial enrollment period. This period begins three months before you turn 65 and ends three months after your 65th birthday.

If you miss this sign-up period, or don’t require coverage at that time, you can sign up during the yearly open enrollment period which runs from October 15 and December 7 each year.

Need More Help Understanding Medicare?

Five Star Senior Living has a team of professionals ready to help you understand your Medicare choices, how to pay for senior living, and many of the other financial questions older adults face.

Browse our resources or call the Five Star Senior Living community nearest you today!

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