Know Your Medicare ABCs and now D

Medicare consists of various parts. You are automatically enrolled in some, others you have to take an action to opt out or opt in of that benefit. You share the cost in the form of premiums, coinsurance and deductibles.  Here are the ABCs of Medicare:

Medicare Part A is the hospital benefit. You are automatically enrolled if you are receiving Social Security benefits. Otherwise you should enroll in this benefit during the seven-month period starting three months before your 65th birthday. There is no premium but you do have some out-of-pocket expenses.

Medicare Part B covers physician visits, outpatient services and durable medical equipment. You are automatically enrolled in this benefit when you enroll in Part A. There is a monthly premium and you pay certain out-of-pocket expenses. You have to opt out if you do no want the coverage.

Together Part A and Part B form what is known as "original Medicare" or "traditional Medicare".

Medicare Part C (now known as Medicare MA for Medicare Advantage) is a substitute for Parts A and B. If enrolled, you get all your services and benefits through one source, such as an HMO. A premium is required and you have to opt in for this coverage.

Medicare Part D is the new prescription drug coverage that goes into effect on January 1, 2006. The plans are provided by private health care or insurance companies. A premium is required and you have to enroll in a plan to be covered.


Click here to read more about Medicare Part D


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