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The "Parts" of Original Medicare

Part A

Medicare Part A is your hospital coverage. It provides you with affordable inpatient care or acute care of an injury or illness.

In addition to Medicare hospitalization coverage, Medicare Part A also covers post-hospital skilled nursing and short-term post-hospital home health care, so long as it is medically necessary. Part A covers hospice services which may include palliative care, counseling, social services, short-term respite care and pain relief.

Part A also provides for some home health care services received in the hospital or immediately following an inpatient stay. This includes skilled nursing care, medical social services, and physical therapy. Home health aid services are generally only covered when skilled nursing is also occurring.

Medicare does NOT cover Long Term Care needs, this coverage can be covered through a Long Term Care Insurance Plan.

Part B

Medicare Part B coverage provides you access to a variety of outpatient medical services. Part B covers preventive care including flu shots, colonoscopies, mammograms and more. It covers ordinary outpatient things like doctor’s visits, lab testing, home health care, ambulance rides, and some chiropractic care too.

However, Medicare Part B also covers more expensive services that sometimes occur in the hospital. This includes things like radiation or chemotherapy for cancer, surgeries, diagnostic imaging, medical equipment, and even dialysis for failing kidneys. Part B will also pay for drugs administered in a clinical setting, such as osteoporosis injections, infused drugs, antigens, and insulin that is used with an insulin pump.

Part B is optional and is premium based, additionally you cannot enroll in a Medigap supplemental or advantage coverage without it.

Part C

Medicare Part C is not a program that you enroll in at Social Security. Instead, it is the official name for the program we now know as Medicare Advantage. Medicare Part C plans provide you an alternative to traditional Medicare. They are optional, so not everyone needs Part C.

What is a Part C Medicare plan? Medicare Part C plans are private Medicare plans which pay instead of Medicare.

Think of Medicare Advantage plans as a package where you will have Part A, Part B and usually Part D together in one plan. You will have one ID card that you use at hospital, doctor’s office and pharmacy. Most Advantage plans include a built-in Part D drug plan, although in some areas you can find them without Part D.

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