What choices do I have in Medicare???
There are several ways to get your coverage in Medicare. Veterans may choose to use VA facilities while maintaining a Medicare Advantage plan as a backup plan for added convenience. Retirees may choose to continue to participate in their past employer group health plan, without the need to enroll in Medicare Part B. State & Federal retirees may also generally keep their group health plans.But for the rest of us, you will want to choose your coverage through one of these options: Original Medicare; Original Medicare + Prescription Drug plan; Original Medicare + Medicare Supplement plan (Medigap) + Prescription Drug plan; or Medicare Advantage plan (with or without prescription drug coverage). Last, there is a small group of Medicare beneficiaries that also qualify for State Medicaid benefits, allowing them to enroll in a Medicare+Medicaid Advantage plan.
Original Medicare – Government program that was signed into law in 1965. Did you know that President Harry Truman and his wife, Bess, were the first 2 recipients to enroll in the Medicare program? Original Medicare consists of 2 parts: Part A Hospital – Helps pay for hospital stays and inpatient care. Part B Medical – Helps pay for doctor visits and outpatient care. Most people pay a monthly premium for Part B, which is set by Medicare. The standard premium is $144.60/month for most people. Original Medicare does not cover all costs. Because of this, many beneficiaries will look to an insurance company to fill the gaps.
Medicare Supplement (Medigap) – These plans are offered by private insurance companies to pay for some or all of the costs not paid for by Original Medicare.There are several standardized plans to choose from. These plans have been updated over the years and we currently have plans: A, B, D, G, HDG, F, HDF, K, L, M & N available.There is a monthly premium paid directly to the insurance company.
Part C Advantage Plans – These plans combine Part A and Part B benefits in one plan, are offered by private insurance companies that have a contract with Medicare, and generally include prescription drug coverage. Many offer additional benefits not provided by Original Medicare, such as dental, routine vision, etc. These are the HMOs & PPOs of the Medicare world. Many plans are offered at $0 monthly premium, some have a premium, and others have a Part B give-back.
Part D Prescription Drug Plans – Starting in 2006, Medicare began allowing private insurance companies to offer outpatient drug coverage. These plans help pay for some or all of the cost of medications. Drug plans can be purchased as stand-alone plans or may be included in an Advantage plan.There is a monthly premium for the stand-alone plans.
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