Medicare is complex and today’s changing health care landscape makes it more important than ever to fully understand how it works. If you or someone you know is near retirement, you may have questions about how to enroll in Medicare and what Medicare covers. Here are answers to some common questions about Medicare that can help you understand your options and avoid costly errors or gaps in coverage.
What does Medicare cover?
Medicare is a national health insurance program that helps with the cost of health care but doesn’t cover all medical expenses or long-term care. Though Medicare may cover many of your health-related expenses in retirement, it’s important to think ahead about whether you need to buy a Medicare supplement policy or Long-Term Care policy to help cover additional costs. Medicare consists of four parts:
Part A is hospital insurance that helps pay for inpatient care in a hospital or skilled nursing facility, some home health care, and hospice care.
Part B is medical insurance that helps pay for visits to doctors and other health care providers, outpatient care, some home health care, durable medical equipment, and some preventive services.
Part C Medicare Advantage (MA) plans are approved third-party health plans that combine Part A and Part B coverage and may include prescription drug coverage as well. Premiums and benefits vary widely, so it’s a good idea to compare plans and networks in your area.2
Part D helps pay for the cost of prescription drugs.