Choosing the right Medicare plan
Medicare insurance is a federal health insurance plan for older citizens. The plan to help cover medical costs was designed for those 65 and older. President Lyndon Johnson signed Medicare insurance into law in July of 1965. The original Medicare coverage has been expanded in various ways since 1965. Medicare now covers citizens of all ages with disabilities and people with end-stage kidney disease.
Medicare insurance includes Parts A, B, C and D. Parts A and B are commonly referred to as “original” or “traditional” Medicare.Part A pays for the participant’s hospital bills. Part B coverage goes toward doctor visits and medical services and screenings such as those for certain types of cancer, heart disease and diabetes.
Part C plans are also referred to as Medicare Advantage plans. These Medicare insurance plans are offered by private insurers and approved by Medicare A. Medicare Advantage plans may be chosen as an alternative to traditional Medicare insurance or Parts A and B. A Medicare Advantage Plan coverage includes hospitals, doctors and prescription drugs.
Part D Medicare insurance plans were originated by President George W. Bush as a solution for those on traditional Medicare plans to help pay for the cost of prescription medications. Since prescription medications often rise out of proportion to other health costs for senior citizens, this program is a way to help manage those expenses.
Medicare plans do not cover all of the costs that a participant may incur. Supplemental insurance plans exist to provide for unmet costs. A supplemental insurance plan is offered by private insurance companies and is approved by Medicare. A supplemental insurance plan is also referred to as a “Medigap” plan. Medicare supplement plans are optional back-up policies that can help cover costs that are not covered or not completely covered by a traditional Part A or Part B Medicare insurance plan. This type of supplemental insurance is only available to those who participate in a Part A and Part B original plan.
There are eleven standard Medicare supplement plans offered by private insurance companies in most states. Each supplemental insurance plan is identified by a letter A through G or K through N. The Medicare supplements fill in coverage gaps of Parts A and B. The Medicare supplement plans vary only in the private insurance company that sponsors the plan and in the premium cost.
The Medicare Advantage or Part C plans are private insurance options approved by Medicare, but the consumer must first be enrolled in Parts A and B before choosing a Part C plan. An Advantage plan may have rising costs of premiums so a Medicare supplement to original Medicare could be best for most complete coverage. Original Medicare with supplemental insurance plans allows the patient a wider range of doctor choice, limited only when Medicare is not accepted. Doctor choices in Advantage plans are often more limited by HMOs (Health Maintenance Organizations) or PPOs (Preferred Provider Organizations). A Medicare supplement policy is always a superior choice.