What are the differences between Medicare Parts A and B?

On Behalf of | Aug 6, 2021 | Medicare

Planning for you and your loved one’s long-term care can be intimidating. After all, insurance is confusing, and the options are numerous. Yet, as daunting as this process can be, you have to make sure that you’re fully informed so that you can make the decisions that are right for you and your loved one. This may mean having a clear understanding of long-term care insurance and estate planning tools like powers of attorney, but it also means simply having an understanding of Medicare and how it might apply to you.

With that in mind, let’s take a look at one of the most basic aspects of Medicare.

What’s the difference between Medicare Parts A and B?

We get this question a lot, and it’s one that’s important to answer to ensure that you’re taking full advantage of the Medicare system. So, let’s take a closer look at each portion of the Medicare system.

Medicare Part A

The simplest way to remember Medicare Part A is to think of it as hospital insurance. This portion of the government program can help cover hospital stays, but it can also help pay for things such as nursing home care, hospice care, and even some in-home nursing care. If you’ve worked for at least 10 years, then you don’t have to pay a premium for Medicare Part A coverage, but you’ll probably have to pay some sort of deductible if you end up using the program.

Medicare Part B

Medicare Part B, on the other, should be thought of as medical coverage, meaning most other forms of medical treatment that occur outside of a hospital. Therefore, doctor visits are usually covered under Part B insurance, but so, too, are treatments like chemotherapy and those pertaining to mental health. It’s worth noting that Part B is intended to cover treatment that is either preventative in nature or deemed medically necessary to treat a condition, so you’ll want to seek clarification from your medical professional before pursuing a treatment option if you want to ensure that Medicare will help pay for it.

It’s also important to know that most people have to pay a monthly premium for Part B coverage, and they’re oftentimes required to pay a certain percentage of the treatment that they receive under this plan. A deductible might also apply.  Many prescription drugs also fall outside of Part B coverage.

What about Medicare Advantage?

Medicare Advantage plans are provided by private insurance companies but essentially roll Medicare Parts A and B together into one policy. Many people turn to these plans for simplicity, but these plans also oftentimes include prescription drug coverage, which is sometimes referred to as Medicare Part D coverage. Even if you’re not currently taking prescription medication, it might be wise to seek out Plan D coverage, either through a Medicare Advantage plan or elsewhere, since prescription drug costs can quickly accumulate and leave you facing significant financial challenges.

What’s the best path forward for you and your loved one?

This is a big question that only you can answer. However, you can secure help in understanding your options and taking the steps that are necessary to protect you and your loved one as fully as possible. It’s important to realize that many options for your ongoing and long-term care have requirements that must be met, meaning that you probably need to engage in some planning to ensure that you meet those requirements.

That’s why many people in the Coral Springs area turn to our firm for assistance. We work closely with our clients to ensure that they’re fully informed and can make the decisions that are right for them, while at the same time giving them the protections that they need to secure themselves for the future. If that type of assistance sounds beneficial, then please consider reaching out to a law firm like ours.