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What do all the “parts” mean?

Getting Medicare Right is a challenge for all retirees. Part A of Medicare covers enrollees for what is done inside a hospital and requires a hospital admission. Most people will complete the enrollment form for Medicare Part A when they turn 65 years old – even if they are working with employer based health insurance. For those who have paid taxes from employment over their work lifetimes, Medicare Part A will not require a payment. You have paid for Part A coverage through your Medicare payroll deductions from your paycheck. Part A coverage is what covers hospitalizations.

Everyone has to pay a monthly premium for Part B coverage. This is the part of your coverage that pays for doctor visits, outpatient care, medical supplies and your preventive care. Premiums for Part B will vary and are based on your income. In 2019, the standard premium is $135.50.

You can enroll in Medicare during certain times of the year or if you retire from work and are no longer covered by insurance through your employer. You can choose the way you will obtain Medicare coverage: The Original Medicare is a combination of Medicare Parts A and B. Another way to obtain coverage is through Medicare Advantage Plans (Part C).

You must also purchase a Part D policy that would cover drug benefits or pay a penalty. Still other retirees will decide to purchase Medicare Supplemental Insurance (Medigap). Medigap policies will pay deductibles, co-pays and co-insurance that are not covered by Medicare. Often these policies will cover you if you are traveling outside the United States. However, Medigap policies do not cover medications.

Medicare also does not include vision or dental insurance. Individual private plans must be selected for that coverage as well.

The other option is to enroll in a Part C or Medicare Advantage plan. These mimic what people had under employer funded insurance plans. Sold by a variety of well-known insurance companies, Medicare Advantage plans bundle Parts A, B and D coverage and may also add coverage for vision and dental care. You may also find some extras in these plans that appeal to your specific health interests such as discounted memberships in health clubs or weight management plans or case management help. And there are some Medicare Advantage plans that will cover you with international travel.

Medicare enrollment should be reviewed annually. We can help to ensure that the plans you pick are the best ones for your individual needs.