Let’s start with the basics. Medicare is America’s health insurance program for people age 65 and older (and people with certain disabilities).

To get it, you must be a U.S. citizen or legal resident. Medicare has different “parts” that cover different things. You choose the ones that best meet your healthcare needs.

Let’s look at the first two parts:

• Part A pays for hospital stays. Plus, some home health and hospice care.
• Part B pays for doctor visits and care. It also covers some other health needs, like flu shots and walkers.

Parts A and B together are known as “Original Medicare.”

Prescription drugs are not covered in Original Medicare, so you’ll need to add a separate plan, known as a Medicare prescription drug plan (Part D). These plans are offered by private insurance companies and are approved by the government. Part D covers medications prescribed by doctors.

So we’ve told you about Parts A, B, and D. But what about Part C?

Part C can give you all of the above – and more – in one convenient package.

These plans, known as Medicare Advantage plans, are offered by private insurance companies and are approved by the government.

Part C (Medicare Advantage plan) provides all the benefits of Part A (Hospital Insurance) and Part B (Medical Insurance), and often includes extra benefits they do not cover, such as dental and vision. Some of these plans also include prescription drug coverage (Part D).

There’s one more insurance plan option you should know about. It’s a Medicare Supplemental Insurance (or Medigap) policy, which you can add to Original Medicare. A Medigap policy can help pay for certain healthcare costs that you will have with Original Medicare, such as deductibles and copays.

Keep in mind that you cannot have a Medicare Advantage plan and a Medigap policy at the same time. You must choose one or the other.

To recap... today we learned about Medicare and all its different parts.You now have a good understanding of the basics you need to know.

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