MEDICARE PART A (HOSPITAL INSURANCE): If it involves a hospital or staying over night, it is probably under Part A. This includes normal inpatient hospital care. Part A also includes up to 100 days in a skilled nursing facility per benefit period. In addition to the benefits above, some home health care and hospice care is covered under Part A as well. If you have worked and paid into Medicare for 10 years or more, Part A is free. If you have not, you may still qualify for Part A, but at an additional cost. Many services, however, will have coinsurances attached to them. Under original Medicare, you will pay 20%, and Medicare will pay 80% of your medical expenses.
MEDICARE PART B (MEDICAL INSURANCE): Part B covers your doctors' services. This includes general doctor visits, and preventive services. X-rays, lab tests, and various therapies such as speech, occupational and physical therapy fall under this. Ambulance services are also covered under Part B. Part B is not free. You will have to pay a monthly premium. You will also have to meet an annual deductible, and for most services, there are coinsurances. Under original Medicare, you will pay 20%, and Medicare will pay 80% of your medical expenses.
MEDICARE ENROLLMENT: You can sign up for Medicare Part A and Part B three months before the month you turn 65, your birthday month and for three months afterwards, totaling an initial enrollment period of seven months.
MEDICARE SUPPLEMENTS: Medicare beneficiaries who are 65 or older may purchase a Medicare Supplement Policy. Medicare supplement policies have standardized benefits, which are the same no matter from which company you buy them from. When you enroll in Part A and Part B is the time you need to enroll in a Medicare Supplement because there is no underwriting health restrictions. The desire to switch companies after the initial enrollment period is no problem if you have good health, but trying to switch with health issues can be difficult. A list below shows the difference in the standardized Medicare Supplement Policies, but not all states allow all plans to be sold. The "F" Plan is one of the simplest plans to understand. This supplemental policy is often referred to as the "100%" plan. This is because it will pay 100% of the deductibles and coinsurances that Original Medicare leaves behind on Part A (Hospital) and Part B (Medical).