Medicare 101–The Basics

What is Medicare?

Medicare is health insurance for:

  • People age 65 or older 
  • People under age 65 with certain disabilities 
  • People of any age with End-Stage Renal Disease (ESRD) (permanent kidney failure requiring dialysis or a kidney transplant)
Medicare has four parts: Parts A and B – often referred to as original Medicare; Part C – Medicare Advantage; and Part D – Prescription Drug Coverage.
 
To supplement Parts A and B, the federal government created standards for supplemental plans, which means every insurance company you review is offering the same supplemental products.
 
The difference? Cost, services, reliability and the number and quality of doctors available to you. See why BCBSND is the smart choice.
 

 
Part A: Hospital Insurance
  • Helps cover hospital, skilled nursing facility, hospice care and home health care
  • No premium for most people
  • Deductibles and copayments apply
Get more information from the federal government about original Medicare Part A coverage.
 
Medicare doesn't pay for everything. Strengthen your coverage with Medicare supplements.
 
 

 
Part B: Medical Insurance
  • Helps cover doctor services, outpatient care, durable medical equipment (DME) and some preventive services
  • There are monthly premiums
  • Enrollment is optional
Get more information from the government about original Medicare Part B coverage
 
Medicare doesn't pay for everything. Strengthen your coverage with Medicare supplements.
 
 

 
Part C: Medicare Advantage
Some private companies provide services covered under Medicare Parts A and B, plus may cover some additional services such as vision, hearing, dental and certain health/wellness programs.
  • You're eligible if enrolled in both Part A and Part B and live in the plan's service area
  • Monthly premiums apply and you must continue to pay your Part B premium
  • Deductibles and coinsurance may apply
  • Enrollment in Part C is optional
  • You can generally only enroll in Part C during the annual open enrollment period
  • Coverage may include Medicare Part D prescription drug coverage
 

 
Part D: Prescription Drug Coverage
Because Medicare is very light on its drug coverage, most people supplement with a prescription drug plan.
  • You're eligible if you are entitled to Part A and/or enrolled in Part B
  • Monthly premiums apply and you must continue to pay your Part B premium
  • Enrollment is optional, but a late enrollment penalty may apply in certain circumstances
  • Copayments, deductibles and coinsurance may apply
  • Covers outpatient prescription medications
  • Helps cover the cost of prescription drugs 
  • May help lower your prescription drug costs and help protect against higher costs in the future
Get more information from the government about Medicare Part D coverage.
 

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