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What are the Different Types of Medicare?

By Ken Black
Updated May 17, 2024
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There are four major divisions in the Medicare program, each responsible for handling a slightly different aspect of health care. In some cases, these different types of Medicare are meant as a complementary package to each other. In other cases, one may replace one or more of the others. Those interested in the system should consider all the different types of Medicare and come up with a solution that will provide them with the best Medicare coverage they can afford.

As with many other types of health insurance plans, Medicare insurance offers flexibility for individuals to choose their own health care plans. Medicare plans may be tailored simply to outpatient or inpatient procedures. There are drug programs available and even private insurance options for those who feel they are better served going through that route.

Medicare Part A is the part of Medicare coverage that covers major illnesses and end-of-life care issues. This may include services such as inpatient hospital care and hospice care. This plan can also pay for home health care, which can be used to help keep seniors in their homes as long as possible. Once movement to a skilled nursing facility is needed, this is the portion of Medicare that also pays for that.

Medicare Part B is a type of Medicare that covers normal doctor's visits and other minor issues which, if not treated, could end up becoming very serious. In addition to paying for a doctor's care, this plan will cover physical and occupational therapy, if needed. Of the different types of Medicare coverage, this is the one that often receives the most attention and most adjustment year after year.

Medicare Part C is also known as the Medicare Advantage Plan. This plan is meant to help those afford private insurance, if that is the route they choose to take, and will completely replace both Medicare Part A and Part B. In order to receive coverage through this program, the individual must choose a plan that is approved by Medicare for such a purpose. However, of all the different types of Medicare available, this one may offer the most choices. It may also require an additional premium payment.

Medicare Part D is a relatively new part of the equation, but is very much needed by many individuals. Due to the high cost of prescription drugs, and the increased need for those medications as an individual gets older, drug coverage was added. There are different plans to choose from. However, it should be remembered that co-payments or deductibles may need to be met.

For those who do not have enough options with the available types of Medicare, there is one more to consider. A Medigap policy can help cover any co-pays, deductibles or other expenses not covered by the normal Medicare programs. This is a totally optional coverage that may make sense for some people, depending on the amount of medical bills they tend to accumulate.

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