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Medicare Plans

Included in the Medicare system are three different plans -- Parts A&B (Original Medicare), Medicare Part A, Medicare B, Part C (Medicare Advantage), Part D, and Medigap. This is where it can often become confusing for individuals seeking medical insurance, so we have broken down each plan for you.

Parts A&B (Original Medicare)
Original Medicare (Parts A&B) is the most basic of all the plans and is available to anyone:

65 years of age or older
Under the age of 65 with certain disabilities
Suffering from End-Stage Renal Disease (ESRD)

Medicare Part A
Also known as hospital insurance, Medicare Part A is insurance that covers any service that could be considered a "hospital service." This includes:

In-patient hospital care
Home healthcare
Skilled nursing
Hospice care

Medicare Part B
Medicare Part B is also known as medical insurance, as it covers medical services you require, including medical attention and medical equipment. Covered under Medicare Part B are:

Doctors' visits
Medical equipment
Out-patient care
Home care
Certain preventative services

Part C (Medicare Advantage)
Even with doctor visits, hospital visits, and medical equipment covered, there are still certain costs that are left uncovered, and it is this gap that Part C, Medicare Advantage, bridges. Medicare Advantage can be compared to HMO or PPO in the way that it provides government-approved private insurance companies for individuals. These insurance companies are paid a flat amount by the government every month. That amount is determined depending upon the health situation of each individual. Because of this, the costs and coverage can vary from person to person. Under Medicare Advantage you may be eligible for coverage of:

Emergency care
Urgent care
All services covered under Original Medicare with the exception of hospice, which is still covered by Original Medicare
Many include extra coverage for vision, hearing, and dental
Most, but not all, provide prescription drug coverage

Part D (Prescription Drug Coverage)
Original Medicare does not provide drug coverage, so Part D provides all the services of Original Medicare but with the addition of also providing insurance for prescription drugs. Part D is available with many different premiums and so the cost of this plan will vary depending upon the types of prescription drugs you need and the co-payment that is within your financial comfort zone.

Medicare Supplemental Insurance (Medigap)
While Original Medicare does provide insurance coverage for many health and medical services, it certainly does not provide coverage for them all. That is the role that Medicare Supplemental Insurance (Medigap) can fulfill. Medigap has an entire subset of plans that are standardized by Medicare and differentiated using letters A through N; each is provided by a different insurance company. The major benefits are the same, but plans A through N can offer slightly different coverage so it is best to speak to a licensed professional or to use the chart provided by Centers for Medicare and Medicaid to determine the different types of coverage. The cost for each plan will differ depending upon the insurance company you choose.